Antony Gormley’s iconic sculptures have until two years ago been made from plaster casts of his own body. Not now. Of late, he uses a scanner and a computer program. I only found out this week when I saw the BBC Arts program ‘Antony Gormley: Being Human’ (BBC Imagine – Series 28-2, 4 November 2015, An interview with Alan Yentob).
I thought that I was the first to try this approach. But perhaps being second (or so?) is not too bad. I am heartened. Not disappointed. I feel that my approach is validated, even if it is not so new for creating sculptures of the human form.
However, Antony Gormley’s set up using an infra-red scanner is VERY expensive. My methods use only recently available technology and devices that whilst not cheap, put the possibility of using a similar approach into the hands of the ordinary mortal. So regular artists’ with less deep pockets can explore this approach in their practice. And that is new. So I am happy that I have at least introduced some innovation into this piece of work.
Antony Gormley – Scanning Process
Antony Gormley Installation – ‘Sound’
Here are some of my scans, taken in the last week, of my life model, Vanessa. I have made a video clip of the standing pose so that you can see it rotated through 360 degrees:
For Project 2, I made files of these scans for input to the Camberwell Laser Cutter and have checked that these are acceptable. On Monday, I will be testing them out, using a couple of A1 sized sheets of MDF to see whether the process works, before I go ahead and produce the whole sculpture. I will be doing my final scans on 19 November, so I expect to produce the full sculpture during next term, ready for the MAVA Fine Art Digital Exhibition in July.
I also now have all the ingredients I need for Project 1: Over an hour of recordings made by Vanessa, both in the studio and at home; Photographs and Scans of her in various poses; the BareConductive Arduino Pre-programmed for playing MP3 clips; some Conductive Paint: and a couple of huge life sized canvasses (6 x 4 feet). There will be more recording and scans and it will be very interesting to review them all and decide which to use.
On Monday I will work in the Camberwell Sound Studio to study my test recordings and to cut a few test SD cards for the Micro Card Readers. These will be attached to the Arduino at the rear of the canvas, connected by wires through the canvas to the Conductive areas on the Painting. I intend to visit BareConductive in London to learn more about how to use their products in my project. I will then conduct a concept test at home, before turning my attention next term to actually putting brush to canvas.
It is a very satisfying feeling to see my first two projects, so long in the research and planning stages, at last starting to take shape and becoming a physical reality.
Footnote and Acknowledgement:
Antony Gormley was however Following in the Footsteps of our very own trailblazer, Mr Jonathan Kearney. “Hi Terry. I am aware of the type of scanner Antony Gormley uses. I used one in an art project about 8 years ago. It was extremely challenging to use and in the end we had no choice but to pay someone to stitch together the actual scans of the head as it was a nightmare to piece it all together. The resolution was good but the other problem was that the scanner was the size of a large suitcase and weighed about 25kg altogether with its own tripod!” ( Email, Jonathan Kearney, 7 November 2015).