In Spring 2016 Quayola presented solo exhibition Laocoön at One Canada Square in London. The exhibition was a continuation of the artist’s ongoing research into iconography, whereby he abstracts classical sculptures using digital rendering and production techniques. In so doing, Quayola creates new spaces in which relationships between classical and contemporary art forms and themes can be re-thought.
Sculpture Factory, the work by Quayola currently showing at DRIVE Volkswagen Group Forum in Berlin, extends the reach of these new spaces onto the factory floor. The artist displays the construction of one of his unfinished sculptures as a performative sculpture in itself. For eight weeks, a robotic milling machine chips away at blocks of material, producing a series of ‘unfinished’ sculptures - works which have been extended and dismantled by glitch.
The work brings process - rather than outcome - to the fore. Visitors to the exhibition can see the live translation of code to material, as manipulated digital renderings of Michaelangelo sculptures are whittled from white blocks.
“There is a very complex geometry to it, but actually this is really determined by the size of the drill bit and how it is moving through the block [...] This is not something that has been designed on 3D software. It’s just a result of a series of operations and the process of the machine.” - Quayola remarks in an interview with the Creators Project.
The relationship between art and process heavily informs Quayola’s working process. The notion of ‘algorithmic creativity’ could be described in many ways; the sculptures produced by the industrial machines in Sculpture Factory are one such description. Another, more bodily description is the tangible, temporal impact the performance of the machines has on space and materials - the ‘sculptor’ has been programmed to produce something which, by hovering close to classical aesthetic ideas, disrupts them owing to the difference in process.
Sculpture Factory is presented as part of Ars Electronica’s current exhibition Human Factor: Endless Prototyping, which runs from 1 July until 27 August 2016 and explores the connections between art and industry.