It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of Justo Gallego. He has been an inspiration for everyone at Factum since Manuel Franquelo and I first met him in 1996. We arranged a celebration of his great work in London in 1998… Justo sent me a message saying ‘Dios se lo pague’.
He was a great man with a deep vision. I am sure he is where he would like to be. His humour, intelligence and belief are an inspiration to me and to so many others. I am sad but I am happy for you!
Watch this film by Otto Lowe about Justo and his work by clicking here.
Director of Factum Arte
In agreement with Zumrud Suleymanova, former Minister of Culture in Dagestan, Factum rematerialised and donated two of the tombstones recorded in Dagestan (Russia) in 2016 to Rachid Koraïchi for his Jardin d’Afrique.
The non-denominational cemetery, garden and DNA database was opened by the artist in Zarzis, Tunisia in June 2021, in the presence of UNESCO’s Director General Audrey Azouley. Jardin d’Afrique was built as a resting place for the countless migrants drowned while crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
The Dagestani tombstones from Kala-Khoreysh, linking back to the artist’s ancestors, were rematerialised in limestone, with sandblasted inscriptions in French, English and Arabic. The steles are now installed at the entrance leading to the tiled pathways.
Roksana Ciurysek-Gedir and Kas Galos worked with Factum Arte on the production of their new series, dedicated to raising awareness and hopefulness towards environmental issues. Kintsugi Aurea was presented at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow (October 31 - Nov 12, 2021).
The concept of re-using was explored by giving new life to a 2m stainless steel sphere, originally mirror polished.
Grayson Perry's most recent work has been produced for the artist in collaboration with Paragon | Contemporary Editions Ltd and unveiled at Frieze London (13 - 17 October 2021). Factum Arte's textile studio in Madrid has worked with Grayson on all his tapestry works.
This complex image interlaces four identifiable artworks by Gainsborough, William Turner, William Morris and Bridget Riley. Working a bit like a random-dot stereogram, each image in turn comes to the foreground. Creating this illusion depends on the control of both tone and colour, and this was the most challenging tapestry yet - both in the design of the weave structure and the control of the colour combinations.
For his solo show at Frieze 2021 with ATHR Gallery (13 – 17 October 2021), Ahmed Mater presented a new body of work that reflects on the ways in which surveillance technologies have become omnipresent, drastically transforming the rules of both conflict and ‘track and trace’. Eagle, an enlarged version of a General Atomics MQ-1 Predator drone, was the central part of the ATHR Gallery installation at Frieze.
In previous works made with Factum, the power of electricity was used to fuse sand into complex forms of crude glass. This new work also emerges from the sand referring back to the fulgurite works but appearing like an impossible sand sculpture.
The concept behind Tracing Fallen Sky (2020) and the permanent installation at Storm King Center, New York, continues in the series 'Fallen Sky'. The terracotta maquette recorded in 2019 was resized to three different diameters and 3D printed at Factum Arte and Materialise, before being cast in stainless steel at Fademesa Foundry.
Wider Than the Sky (72 inches / 182,88 cm) and Deeper Than the Sea (36 inches / 91,44 cm), two of the pieces from the series, were on show at Gagosian for the exhibition 'Sarah Sze: New Works' (September 20 – November 13, 2021). Other pieces of the series were also on display at Victoria Miro in London for the exhibition 'Sarah Sze' (12 October – 6 November 2021).
More on the production of the artworks
© Sarah Sze. Photo: Julien Gremaud. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian
Following the very sad and short-sighted decision by the government and the Public Inquiry system to approve the conversion of the Whitechapel Bell foundry into a ‘Soho House’-style club and hotel, Factum Arte is moving ahead to prove there is a need and demand for bell production in the C21st. Grayson Perry’s Covid Bell was announced at the Public Inquiry last November and sculpted by Grayson in Spring 2021.
Scanned and processed by Factum Arte’s team in June, it is now being cast at Pangolin Foundry in Gloucestershire, making the first step in the revival of bell making. The London Bell Foundry is being formed to replace the Whitechapel Bell foundry that was sacrificed after almost 500 years of continuous work to make way for a boutique hotel.
Artist Afra Al Dhaheri worked with Factum Arte on her site-specific installation Pillow Fort Playground with Green Art Gallery, as part of the Public Art Programme of Expo 2020 Dubai (October 1 2021 - March 31 2022). According to the artist, the pillow fort emerges from her childhood memories of tikkay, traditional embroidered Emirati floor cushions. Al Dhaheri decided to translate the softness and impermanence of the cushions into an illusion of softness carved in hard, cold marble.
The artwork will become a permanent fixture of the Expo 2020 Dubai site after the event closes in March 2022 and the area becomes District 2020.
Marina Abramović's fascination with the legendary soprano Maria Callas is the inspiration behind this new series, presented at Lisson Gallery for the exhibition 'Marina Abramović: Seven Deaths' (14 September - 30 October 2021).
Seven photographic plates feature Marina performing (sometimes through reinterpretation) the grisly ends of seven of Callas' most famous roles as an opera singer.
The photos were processed by Oak Taylor Smith and Teresa Casado at Factum Arte and converted into depth maps that were CNC-milled on seven irregular slabs of 10 to 12cm-thick alabaster. In an elaborate play between ephemeral and material, tone is used as relief to produce optical effects in the viewer´s eye; a purpose-built net of LED backlights creates the illusion of a self-diffused light.
Much like Marina's first production with Factum (Five Stages of Maya Dance, 2013), this series demonstrates the possibilities of working with translucent materials and lighting to create a multi-layered performance.
In 2014, the Museo del Prado commissioned Factum Arte to carry out high-resolution 3D scanning and composite colour photography of Francisco Goya's Black Paintings, for documentation and research purposes. It was the first large-scale project of high-resolution 3D digitisation of the surface of paintings ever realised.
The methodology and outcomes of this project have set the benchmark of how surface relief should be considered as a primary source for understanding the complex historic trajectories of artworks and cultural objects within a museum collection.