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Hope for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry
Hope for the Whitechapel Bell Foundry

The campaign to save the church bell foundry at Whitechapel has entered a new and positive phase. On 3rd December the UK Secretary of State for Housing, Communities, and Local Government issued a Holding Direction to the Tower Hamlets Development Committee, preventing them from proceeding with the planning application for change of use to a boutique hotel. All decisions about the foundry will now be made by the Secretary of State and not by Tower Hamlets.

While the future of the foundry is not yet secured, this is a moment for celebration and a firm step on the way to reacquiring the historic buildings and converting them into cutting edge foundry facilities. Over the next few days, Factum Foundation and the UK Historic Buildings Preservation Trust will start on the next stage of the campaign - watch this space for further developments.

To find out about this campaign and about the proposals for the foundry put forward by Factum Foundation and the UK Historic Buildings Preservation Trust, click here.


Hrair Sarkissian's <i>Final Flight</i> on show next year at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas
Hrair Sarkissian's Final Flight on show next year at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas

A new edition of Factum Arte’s 2017 collaboration with Syrian artist Hrair Sarkissian will soon be showcased at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas, as part of the exhibition centered on his most famous projects, from January 24, 2020 to March 15, 2020.

Final Flight is a collection of seven facsimiles of Northern bald ibis skulls: considered one of the rarest birds in the world, it was regarded as extinct until a colony of seven was found in Palmyra in 2002. The birds have disappeared yet again between 2011 and 2014 following the political situation in Syria, nullifying the conservation efforts that were protecting their annual winter migration to Ethiopia.


The skull of an Andalusian specimen preserved in and generously lent by the Zoo of Jerez de la Frontera in Southern Spain was digitized at Factum Arte in Madrid using high-resolution photogrammetry and processed into a 3D model that could be 3D printed, moulded and then cast in a mix of calcium and resin, which best resembles the appearance of bones. The skulls were subsequently hand painted and each of the finalized seven facsimiles hangs on 30 cm metal rod attached to a stone base.
Hrair Sarkissian uses these seven migrating ibises that were lost or never returned to create an elegant metaphor for the current displacement and migration of Syrians.

Learn more about this project


Jan Hendrix at the Bonnefanten Museum
Jan Hendrix at the Bonnefanten Museum

Hot on the heels of an exhibition at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC) in Mexico City, Jan Hendrix’s Yagul tapestry series is travelling to Europe. The tapestries will be shown as part of an overview of the artist’s work at the Bonnefanten Museum in Maastricht (Tierra Firme, 26th November 2019 – 26th April 2020).

These vast graphic images are drawn by Hendrix before being converted in Factum Arte’s digital tapestry studio into files suitable for weaving. Threads are chosen, colours adjusted, and weaving techniques decided on before the files can be sent to Flanders Tapestries, where they are woven on electronic Jacquard looms. In the case of the Yagul tapestries, different types of thread – some silk, some wool – were used for the different colours, and a new weave was developed especially for the series.

Jan Hendrix has been making work at Factum Arte since 2006, when he started using laser-cut steel and water-cut aluminium to create large-scale immersive artworks. As monumental as his installation pieces, the subtle weave of these tapestries transforms the represented landscapes yet again, inviting new encounters with these complex rock formations and tree canopies.


Return of the Lost Paintings at Palazzo Abatellis
Return of the Lost Paintings at Palazzo Abatellis

A new exhibition at Palazzo Abatellis in Palermo (until 8th December) celebrates ‘The Return of the Lost Paintings’: seven paintings, all lost, destroyed, or stolen over the course of the 20th century, which were recreated by Factum Arte for a 2018 Sky Arts series made by Ballandi Multimedia, Rome. The exhibition allows these paintings to have a new lease of life - raising questions about their complex histories. Digital restoration and rematerialisation are fast-growing parts of Factum Arte’s work.

Palazzo Abatellis is just a short walk away from the Oratorio di San Lorenzo, where Factum Arte’s recreation of Caravaggio’s Nativity with St Francis and St Lawrence is permanently installed in the frame once occupied by the original, which was stolen 50 years ago this month.

Find out more about the Lost Paintings


Factum Arte's diary: Shezad Dawood

Shezad Dawood has worked with Factum Arte since 2014 in a variety of media, on projects which complicate and reimagine received historical narratives and imagery. In this new profile, filmed in Factum Arte's Madrid workshops, he talks about the ideas and ideals which drive his work, and how the collaborative studio environment of Factum Arte helps to bring them to life.

Find out more about Shezad Dawood's projects with Factum Arte


New tapestry by Grayson Perry: 'Large Expensive Abstract Painting'
New tapestry by Grayson Perry: 'Large Expensive Abstract Painting'

Grayson Perry’s latest tapestry, ‘Large Expensive Abstract Painting’, is on show until 20th December at Victoria Miró Mayfair as part of the solo exhibition Super Rich Interior Decoration.

Perry has been producing his extraordinary tapestries at Factum Arte since 2009, when the design for The Walthamstowe Tapestry was sent to Factum's digital tapestry studio. Perry's digital files are processed in Madrid for weaving on Jacquard looms at Flanders Tapestries in Belgium.

Another set of tapestries, Julie Cope’s Grand Tour, is currently on display at Dovecot Studios in Edinburgh until 2nd November.

Find out more about Grayson Perry's work with Factum Arte


Recreation of <i> Six Sunflowers in a Vase </i> on show in Tokyo exhibition
Recreation of Six Sunflowers in a Vase on show in Tokyo exhibition

The exhibition ‘Superclone Cultural Properties’ (Sep. 16 –29) at the Tokyo University of the Arts Museum introduces the concepts and material realities that lie behind the reproduction of cultural heritage. The University is currently deeply engaged in research and development relating to cultural heritage protection and the creation of faithful reproductions of cultural assets from around the world.

Factum Foundation participates in this exciting project with a re-creation a lost painting by Vincent Van Gogh – Six Sunflowers in a Vase (1888). The painting, which once belonged to a Japanese collector, was destroyed in the American bombing of Ashiya in 1945. With very little material evidence of the original – one black & white collector’s photograph and a small colour image – Factum’s experts in digital restoration produced a striking recreation of the original based on Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings dating from the same period. The project was filmed for the documentary series ‘Mystery of the Lost Paintings', produced with Ballandi Multimedia and broadcast by Sky Arts.

Find out more about the recreation of Six Sunflowers in a Vase.


Wandering Odysseus returns to Corfu
Wandering Odysseus returns to Corfu

Halfway home to Ithaca, Odysseus reached the island of Scheria, where he was found on the seashore by Nausicaa, princess of the hyper-civilised Phaecians. The scene was recreated in 1948 by the Greek artist Niko Ghika using two maquettes, which show the bedraggled hero attempting to hide his nakedness behind a tree while the princess plays ball with her companions on the shore.

Factum Arte has now transformed these two small figures into a monumental tableau. The 30cm maquettes were recorded using photogrammetry and digitally enlarged to around 2.5m before being CNC-milled in medium density polyurethane. The routed forms were then cast in bronze.

The figures are now face to face on a promontory looking out from Corfu towards Albania, on the terrace of a house belonging to Jacob Rothschild. The setting is an apt one: not only has tradition long associated Corfu with the mythical island of Scheria, but the Rothschild property there is one which was restored by Niko Ghika himself, together with Barbara Hutchinson, Jacob Rothschild’s mother, who married the artist in 1961.


<i> Spiral </i> by Paula Crown
Spiral by Paula Crown

Chicago-based artist Paula Crown's creative exploration of the earliest man-made symbols has led to a new series of sculptural works in production at Factum Arte. Spiral (2019) elaborates the basic spiral into a highly complex structure, asking the question – how far can the basic sign be taken before it becomes illegible?

The sculpture was digitally modelled and 3D printed in one piece. The secondary nickel electroplating process resulted in arborescent nickel formations whose fractal qualities evoke organic protrusions from the hyper-stylised 3D modelled form.

Learn more.


Rachid Koraïchi builds cemetery for drowned migrants in Tunisia
Rachid Koraïchi builds cemetery for drowned migrants in Tunisia

Rachid Koraïchi is currently building a non-denominational cemetery and memorial in Zarzis, Tunisia for migrants who have drowned while crossing the Mediterranean. Jardin d'Afrique will open next year, although 56 anonymous bodies have already been buried in a temporary grave at the site.

Image: Construction of Jardin Afrique - Courtesy Rachid Koraïchi


New Works by Marina Abramović presented by Wilde Gallery at Art Basel
New Works by Marina Abramović presented by Wilde Gallery at Art Basel

Following the opening of Marina's exhibition at Wilde Gallery in Basel, she returned to Madrid to continue developing a new body of works. After the production of Marina's five alabaster portraits that formed Five Stages of Maya Dance (exhibited at Masterpiece Presents last year), the artist continues her exploration of the image-making possibilities of relief carving, that merges the ephemeral and the permanent, performance and light.

Marina's work has always been concerned with performance and pushing boundaries. The new works continue this but with a sense of time that looks forwards and backwards.

Find out more.


Factum Fetishes by Mariana Cook

A new film by Óscar Parasiego made with Mariana Cook while she was working in Factum's workshops earlier this year.

This is one of an ongoing series of films with artists as they engage with Factum's team in different ways.

More videos here.


Risco Caído - a new addition to UNESCO's World Heritage List
Risco Caído - a new addition to UNESCO's World Heritage List

Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria Cultural Landscape, a complex of troglodyte settlements in the biodiverse mountains of central Gran Canaria, was added to UNESCO's World Heritage List on July 7th 2019.

Risco Caído is a great example to demonstrate how new technologies for non-contact digitisation can contribute to the preservation and monitoring of a cultural heritage site, as it is now being carried out by the Cabildo de la Palma. Factum Arte has been working with the Cabildo on the creation of a facsimile which will make the Canarian sanctuary accessible to the public and permit wider dissemination and visibility.

The objective of this project is twofold: the exhaustive photographic documentation of the internal space and its surface, including a valuable solar calendar, that will result in the production of an exact facsimile at 1:1 that can be visited. This project will also contribute to the preservation of the original cave, under threat from natural causes due to its location.

The digitisation of Risco Caído took place in March 2019 and UNESCO's exciting announcement comes as a team of specialists at Factum's Madrid workshops undertakes the production of the facsimile, which will be on permanent view at the new Interpretation Centre of Risco Caído and the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, in the municipality of Artenara. The reproduction of the cave will open to the public before the end of 2019.

More information on the digitisation and facsimile production coming soon.


Masterpiece Art Fair 2019
Masterpiece Art Fair 2019

From 27 June to 3 July 2019, Factum Arte participated in Masterpiece London, one of the world's leading cross-collecting fairs. Factum's stand, designed by Charlotte Skene Catling, recreated the feeling of creative excitement that exists in Factum's workshops. Works by artists including El Anatsui, Marina Abramović, Mariana Cook, Paula Crown, Adam Fuss, Boris Savelev, and Rachid Koraïchi were shown alongside a digital restoration of an equestrian statue by Canova and interpretative re-creations of artworks by Dürer and Monet.

Find out more.


Book: A Digital Mediation Studio
Book: A Digital Mediation Studio

The emergence of computers and the opportunities offered by diverse types of digital mediation in C21st required a radical rethinking of the layout of a creative workshop and the way that contemporary artists work. Factum Arte is a direct response to this need. Its workshops have developed to create an experimental and open environment to meet the needs of artists from around the world.

Over 50 people work together in a space of 8000 sq meters. Their skills are diverse; architects, product designers, scientists, moulders and casters, welders, conservators, fine and applied artists, printers, electrical and physical engineers, machine operators, accountants, photographers, film-makers, 3D scanners, textile specialists, typographers, sculptors and furniture restorers all work together. Teamwork is at the heart of this C21st renaissance and the workshops are only the tip of the iceberg. They connect to precision engineering, CNC milling, foundry work in many materials (at every scale and level of detail), waterjet cutting, laser technologies of various kinds, structural engineering, architecture, museum collaborations, printing, exhibition design, 3D printing, electro-forming and electroplating, wood carving, stone carving, computer programming, film-making, anthropology, scientific innovation... the list responds to needs. The aim has been to create a ‘playground’ for artists who can work supported by skilled and creative digital artisans.

View the book.

Cover: Ahmed Matter's Mitochondria: Powerhouses installed at Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, 2017


On show: Adam Fuss' <i>Theia</i>
On show: Adam Fuss' Theia

Adam Fuss' new works were on display at the Baldwin Gallery in Aspen (21 June - 21 July 2019).

Over the past months, the artist worked with Factum's print studio on the creation of multiple unique multi-layered pigment prints of compressed flowers on gesso coated aluminum. The crushed petals appeared to leave the surface of the gesso and seemingly gain volume, displaying the innovative results of high-resolution scanning as well as multi-layered printing.

Learn more.

Image courtesy of Adam Fuss Studio


<i>Black on Gold</i> and <i>Gold on Black</i>, El Anatsui
Black on Gold and Gold on Black, El Anatsui

A pair of new works have emerged from the ongoing collaborative project ‘Benchmarks’ between El Anatsui, the October Gallery and the print studio at Factum Arte. The Gold on Black takuhon has been exhibited at the October Gallery’s El Anatsui: Material Wonder (28th February - 6th April 2019). A second Black on Gold was displayed at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition where El Anatsui is an Academician, from 10 June - 12 August 2019.

The imprint is first taken by a method called "Takuhon", which was developed in ancient Japan.

Learn more on the production of the works.


A new Growth Chaise Longue by Mathias Bengtsson
A new Growth Chaise Longue by Mathias Bengtsson

Factum Arte continues the collaboration with Danish designer Mathias Bengtsson to produce a unique Chaise Longue. Since 2013, Bengtsson has been working with Factum to push the boundaries of traditional furniture through expressive forms and advanced techniques.

The chair began as a 3D model sent by Bengtsson which was 3D printed in TetraShell by Materialise. The result is a complete merging between 3D printing technologies and traditional casting techniques - another successful collaboration with the Madrid-based foundry, Fademesa. Learn more on the techniques involved in the production of this unique piece of furniture.


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