Barry X Ball Makes a 3D-Printed, Digitally Altered, Gold-Plated Sculpture

by articulatenyc

Studio assistant Mitchell Martinez uses vinegar to polish the bronze on an edition of Perfect Forms. PHOTO: STEPHANIE STRASNICK.

Studio assistant Mitchell Martinez uses vinegar to polish the bronze on an edition of Perfect Forms. Photo: Stephanie Strasnick.

Barry X Ball wanted to complete an artwork that Boccioni never did. Unique Forms of Continuity in Space, which wasn’t cast in bronze until after Boccioni’s death, is a modernist icon. Inspired by industrialization in Italy at the turn of the 20th century, the anonymous figure cascades through space—the wind distorting his speeding body.

Using 3D scanning and printing technologies, sophisticated computer software, resin, nickel, copper, bronze, and 24-karat gold, Ball created his own version of Unique Forms.

Titled Perfect Forms, Ball’s rendition measures nearly two feet tall. The abstracted body is meticulously contoured. The angles are sharp. The curves are smooth. The sleek, gold finish causes the figure to glow and perpetuates the idea that the man is in motion.

The prototype of Perfect Forms made its public debut in October as part of the exhibition “Out of Hand: Materializing the Postdigital” at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. On view through June 1, the show features clothing, artwork, furniture, and jewelry that were created using 3D printers and CNC mills.

On a recent visit to Ball’s studio—which occupies a townhouse in Williamsburg, Brooklyn—I learned about the labor-intensive process involved in constructing Perfect Forms. He demonstrated the various steps using editions of the sculpture, which are mirror images of the MAD prototype. Ball and his team plan to make seven editions in total. The price of the editions has not been determined, but the prototype is selling for $225,000 through Ball’s New York gallery, Sperone Westwater. Read the full story on artnews.com!

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