My current sculptural project lies at the intersection between art, 3D technology and material research. For the past two years, I have been prototyping a series of free-standing sculptures that represent an unbroken, seamless line twisting in space. The form of the sculpture evokes the “Ouroboros”, an ancient symbol depicting a serpent or dragon eating its own tail. Starting with drawings made paper from cut-outs, original artworks are scanned and then brought into 3D rendering software, where they are made into designs for sculpture. A great deal of time and energy went into the long process of trying to bring these almost impossible objects to life. A plethora of materials – from wire and tubes, to ducting and pool noodles – were tested to see which would be able to physically execute these computer-based artworks in space. Finally, after many months of research and testing, carbon fibre has been adopted as the chief material in which the sculptures will be made. When raw carbon fibre is combined with a plastic resin it forms a carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer composite that – once cured – is eleven times stronger than steel.
Few artists have explored the use of this remarkable, versatile material in sculpture. Zaha Hadid famously said that in architecture, a curved building is seven times more expensive than its counterpart made with straight lines. This is because of the 3D technologies employed, the expense of the materials, and the time it takes to manipulate the materials in the desired way. Making sculpture in perfect curves – particularly in carbon fibre – is no different. It is difficult, time-consuming and expensive. It takes a great deal of commitment, fortitude and focus to bring an idea like this to life, and it is for these reasons – I believe – that so few sculptors have ventured into such territory.