Jul 15, 2017 | By Tess

In 1971, American artist Duane Hanson stunned the art world with his both humoristic and provocative sculpture, the Supermarket Lady. Much like the name evokes, the piece is a representation of a middle-aged woman in hair rollers, with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth, pushing a shopping cart full of frozen meals and other grocery store junk food.

Computer scientist Leif Kobbelt (left) and head of the Ludwig Forum Andreas Beitin stand with Supermarket Lady

(Image: Aachener Zeitung / Michael Jaspers)

The iconic piece, which has been housed at the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, Germany for many years (after having toured in New York and across Europe until the late 1980s), has understandably suffered some wear and tear.

In an effort to restore, or at the very least capture, the sculpture before it ages even more, Hanson’s Supermarket Lady sculpture—a still relevant critique of consumerism—was recently 3D scanned. The scanning project, which was led by computer scientist Leif Kobbelt and his Aachen-based team, was part of the Geometry Lab, a 3D festival being hosted at the Ludwig Forum for International Art this fall.

According to German press, the 3D scans of the sculpture will be used as a model to 3D print the Supermarket Lady sculpture in full scale at the Geometry Lab festival in front of the public. As part of the event, Kobbelt will also be offering a workshop in which visitors will have the chance to build their own 3D printer and bring it home with them.

(Image: Aachener Zeitung / Michael Jaspers)

The Geometry Lab, which will take place in Aachen from November 3 to 5, 2017, will bring together art, science, and technology through a number of events, workshops, and performances. In addition to the 3D printing of the Supermarket Lady, the Geometry Lab will feature guided tours and lectures, as well as an electronic music concert.

The 3D scanning follows an intensive restoration initiative for the Supermarket Lady sculpture which was undertaken in 2003 thanks to funding from Dr. Irene Ludwig. The project was a big one, largely because of the various materials Hanson used in his original sculpture, which included glass fibre reinforced polyester resin, an oil painted surface, off-the-rack clothing, and a number of plastic accessories.

As the restorers commented in the sculpture’s damage report: “The types of damage are as varied as the materials used in the piece.” Now, however, whether or not the original Supermarket Lady last another for decades, we’ll at least always have a digital version of Hanson’s masterpiece, and perhaps even a 3D printed replica of it to admire.

Duane Hanson, who died in 1996, was an active member of the hyperrealism and pop art art movements. He is best known for his realistic sculptures of people, including Woman Eating (1971) and Man on Bench (1977). The Aachen-based 3D scanning project could very well mark the first time one of Hanson’s pieces has been captured digitally with 3D scanning.



Posted in 3D Scanning



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