British artist to crush dead father's skull for new work exploring 'weird' relationship

Lee Wagstaff will use a 3D printer to model his own head using fragments

Lizzie Dearden@lizziedearden
Saturday 06 December 2014 18:26

A British artist is planning to crush his dead father’s skull into powder and use it to create a 3D-printed replica of his own head.

Lee Wagstaff, 45, told the project will explore their “difficult” and “weird” relationship, the concept of transference and religion.

After using the crushed skull to create a clone of his own, the artist will engrave it with copies of his head tattoos.

“I immediately thought about how you could replace the powders you'd use for a typical 3D print,” he told Vice. “For me, bodily materials are the same as other art materials, like ink, or paint, or plaster.”

He recently ejaculated on a T-shirt 100 times and displayed it in a perspex box as a piece called “100 Nights of Solitude” and in 2000 printed a self-portrait in his own blood.

David Bowie reportedly saw the work, “Shroud”, on display and according to Wagstaff’s website, commented: “The emergence of Lee’s image on the Shroud elevates him to the status of a surrogate divine seemingly without the intervention of God.

“It comes off as both disquietingly heroic and at the same time spiritually arrogant.”

It is legal to use body parts in the UK but only with a licence, which Wagstaff has obtained for his latest work.

He told Vice he did not speak to his father for 15 years before he died and last saw him on his deathbed.

“The project's partly about working through this weird relationship,” he added. “I was interested in the transference of things that my father was and what he stood for...we grew up with dead things around us, so I have this interest in anatomy, going back to how things work.”

Wagstaff was born in London and studied at Central Saint Martins and the Royal College of Art before exhibiting his work around the world. His own body, which is covered in a full “suit” of tattoos, features in many of his pieces.

Earlier this year a Dutch artist sculpted a life-size human skill out of cocaine.

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