Cutting-edge technology: 3D printed artworks exhibited, and not a paper jam in sight
The 3D Printshow 2013 showcases technology which can now be used to create everything from robotics and bionic ears to high heels, film costumes - and even the first printed car
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Thursday 07 November 2013
The cavernous room is littered with skulls shaped from intricate lace patterns in plastic, architectural forms under glass and delicate sculptures of reclining figures. In artistic flair they wouldn’t look out of place at the Tate Modern, but these exhibits share one common factor: they were shaped with a computer and printed out by a machine.
The 3D Printshow 2013, which opened on Thursday at London’s Business Design Centre, is Britain’s foremost showcase for the cutting-edge technology, which can now be used to create everything from robotics and bionic ears to high heels, film costumes and even the first printed car.
The fair has more than doubled in size after its inaugural year in 2012 and the organisers expect it to double again next year. An emerging focus of the show is art. It claims the gallery overlooking the main hall holds the world’s largest collection of 3D printed artworks, with prominent artists in the field including Joshua Harker, Matthew Plummer-Fernandez and Nick Ervinck.
“The show has artists from around the world, which is pretty exciting,” said Jon Fidler, founder of 3D printing design consultancy Modla.
“We are increasingly fascinated by the art aspect. The recent news around 3D printing has seen interest surge. The numbers of artists in contact is rising.”
As costs come down and the machines become more widely available, the community of artists choosing it as their medium is growing. From just over 20 artists in the first year of the 3D Printshow, there are now close to 45. Mr Plummer-Fernandez said he was attracted by the “creative energy that comes with emerging technologies” and the novelty of the new form.
Jim Stanis, a New York visual artist whose work is also on display, has been experimenting with 3D printing for two years. “This is basically a new medium for artists. How often in history do you get that?” he said. “In the past few hundred years you’ve had film, animation and photography. Those were all ground-breaking. This is the big thing of our time. The idea we can create things we couldn’t before is mind-blowing.”
Artists have travelled from all over the world to display at the fair. Kerry Hogarth, its founder and chief executive, said: “Artists are looking at what they can do with the technology. The gallery has grown and the ability of the artists is unbelievable.
“There are a huge amount of artists that are starting to step towards it. Some of those exhibiting were traditional sculptors and have made their first piece. They’re in awe of what they could achieve. It was something they couldn’t do by hand.” Lilia Ziamou, a sculptor who previously worked with stone and plaster, turned to 3D printing “because it is a new tool. It’s fascinating, it’s very exciting as a technology. The cost is quite high but hopefully it will come down quite soon”.
Louise Shannon, curator of digital design at the V&A, said: “It’s still pretty experimental. It’s the early adopters who are using it at the moment. When the material stabilises more, it may jump to the fine art market.”
The V&A explored 3D printing in a show called Power of Making in 2011. “It has often been deemed as the next industrial revolution. I’m not sure there’s another moment in recent history where you can say this changes everything as much as 3D printing,” Ms Shannon said.
It could take a big name artist to use 3D printing to take it to the mainstream, as with fashion when Iris van Herpen 3D-printed shoes.
“Last year we struggled to get five fashion designers that were at the quality of the catwalk,” Ms Hogarth said. “Now we’re turning them away.”
Watch the new House of Cards series three trailerTV
Oscars 2015It was the first time Barney has compered the Academy Awards
Oscars 2015 From Meryl Streep whooping Patricia Arquette's equality speech to Chris Pine in tears
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
Kurt Cobain's life and death: Montage of Heck film uses unseen footage to tell Nirvana frontman's story
Mal Peet dead at 67: Tributes to children's author who was 'universally adored'
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
Drugs Live: Twitter responds to Jon Snow and Jennie Bond smoking cannabis
Jimmy McGovern's new TV series 'Banished': Why Australia's past has such resonance today
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'