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.
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.
Cover: Ahmed Matter's Mitochondria: Powerhouses installed at Galleria Continua in San Gimignano, 2017
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.
Image courtesy of Adam Fuss Studio
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.
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.
We are delighted to participate in the edition of Masterpiece Art Fair. Last year, Factum Arte was present at Masterpiece Art Fair with two different booths. In the central area of the Fair, Masterpiece Presents featured the first body of work produced at Factum Arte´s studios in Madrid: Five Stages of Maya Dance by Marina Abramović. The complete series of works was displayed in a site-specific space designed by Skene Catling de la Peña, in addition to Factum's own booth, showing works by Paula Crown, Shezad Dawood, Bernd Nicolaisen, Rachid Koraichi, Mat Chivers, El Anatsui, Ahmed Mater, Hrair Sarkissian, Boris Savelev, Grayson Perry and others.
On 20 March, Rachid Koraïchi's amazing show, entitled This Long Journey into Your Gaze, opened at Casa Árabe in Madrid. It is an exhibition that is a personal and intimate celebration of the way light animates different materials, making the complex shadows a vital part of the forms.
The exhibit has been moved from the Neo-Mudéjar building, located at the heart of Madrid, to Casa Árabe's exhibition space in Cordova where it will run until 27 Oct. Don't miss the artist's several series of bronze sculptures, corten artworks and alabaster tablets all produced at Factum's workshops.
Factum Arte has produced a series of 25 furniture pieces designed by acclaimed English designer Jasper Morrison, all formed entirely out of recycled cork. The pieces are on show at Kasmin Gallery as part of 'Corks', Morrison's first solo show in North America (09 May - 29 June 2019).
Factum Arte has collaborated for the first time with Danish-Palestinian artist Larissa Sansour on a monumental fibreglass sculpture to form part of 'Heirloom', a powerful reflection on the key themes of memory, history and identity that represents Denmark at the 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia 2019.
First, a cast was made using fibreglass and resin mixed with black powder in order to establish the deep black tone of the sculpture from the beginning; this was the first step in trying to capture the mattest possible black commercially available.
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The Whitechapel Bell Foundry was the oldest continuous manufacturing business in Great Britain until its closure in 2017, a history of traditional bell casting that stretched back almost 450 years to 1570, counting Big Ben and the Liberty Bell amongst its extraordinary legacy.
Sold to Raycliff Capital due to financial pressure in an industry on the decline in the modern age, the US property developers have submitted plans to turn the historic foundry into a ‘bell-themed boutique hotel’; a complete disregard for the rich heritage of one of the UK’s finest cultural and historical assets, and for its rightful function as a bell foundry. More details on this shameful proposal can be found here.
Our sister organisation Factum Foundation have partnered with the United Kingdom Historic Preservation Trust on a plan to re-open the foundry, re-equipped for the production of bells and art casting once again, which can be read in full here. You can help save the Whitechapel Bell Foundry by taking a moment to submit an objection to the boutique hotel proposal to the Tower Hamlets council. Information on how to do so can be found here.
In 2018, Factum Arte, developed and coordinated with Jan Hendrix the production of a series of tapestries depicting the mythological landscape of Yagul, in Southern Mexico. These tapestries are on display at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporaneo (MUAC) in Mexico City from May 05 to Sept. 22 2019 and will become a touring exhibition in the following year.
Factum Arte was involved in all the steps of the process, from the creation of digital high resolution files and tonal adjusts based on the original drawings to textile artistic advice on the fibre composition and the finishing of the manufactured piece.
Click here to read more about it.
Factum has collaborated with Sarah Sze on a two-part sculpture entitled ‘Split Stone (7:34)’, comprised of a natural boulder split in two like to a geode. The cut reveals a vivid image of the sky embedded into the surface of the stone.
By recording images in pixels and then fixing them in stone and pigment, Sze explores the fragility of time passing and our desire for weight and permanence in the face of both overwhelming natural forces and the ubiquitous images that surround us daily.
This work was installed at the National Roman Museum (Crypta Balbi) in Rome to coincide with Sze’s solo exhibition at the city's Gagosian Gallery (21/11/2018 - 27/01/2019) before being part of the 20 sculptures exhibited for the launch of Frieze Sculpture at Rockefeller Center, until June 28 2019.
An important exhibition on Dürer’s graphic corpus is currently on show at Palazzo Sturm in Bassano del Grappa, running until 30/09/2019. Curated by Chiara Casarin, the exhibition features more than 200 works by Dürer, including his celebrated Rhinoceros woodcut.
Dürer’s Rhinoceros woodcut recorded the exotic creature’s arrival in Europe, where it was exhibited in King Manuel I’s menagerie in Lisbon. As its fame spread Dürer drew the image we know, combining invention, folklore and an idiosyncratic zoology to concoct a fantastical creature that surpasses any observational study.
Factum Arte’s 3D sculptor has continued this beast’s strange and magical journey, transforming it from idea and image into form. Using organic modelling software, Irene Gaume sculpted the animal’s form, over which she mapped the lines of the woodcut giving them volume and relief in a style resembling a netsuke - the famous Japanese ivory carvings.
The workshop team materialised its intricate shape through 3D printing, silicon moulding, casting and hand finishing with bitumen. While the resulting sculptures appear to be carved in ivory, they act as a commentary on the fragility of the relationship between the human and the natural. An edition of 100 Rhinoceros sculptures accompany the exhibition and their sales will support the Museum of Bassano del Grappa.
Albrecht Dürer is widely considered the finest printmaker of all time. His works feature in Albrecht Dürer. La collezione completa dei Remondini, an exhibition curated by Chiara Casarin, at the Museo Civico di Bassano del Grappa until Sept. 30.
To accompany this exhibition, the team at Factum Arte has made a film which captures the different printmaking techniques used by Dürer and his assistants. Following the hands of artisans, Impressions of Albrecht Dürer demonstrates the different manual and chemical procedures involved in engraving, etching and woodcut. Watch the video.
This work, commissioned by the Syrian artist for the 2019 Sharjah Art Biennial, began life with a chance discovery in a Damascus second-hand photography shop: a pile of silver gelatin negatives stuffed into a dusty white plastic bag, hidden away from sight.
Consisting of studio portraits from the 1950s to the 1970s, Sarkissian realised the unique beauty of these aged negatives that, although not of the highest photographic quality, portrays individuals of the past as well as “hint at the world they created and the time they were living in”.
An image from this collection was selected by Sarkissian, “a head-and-shoulders portrait of a woman in the prime of her life looking far into the unknown”, and given to Factum Arte to be scanned and enlarged (with the same proportions) as a large sculptural object measuring 113 cm wide, 193.5 cm high, and 8 cm thick.
Further information on the production of this sculpture can be found here.
Frequent Factum collaborator Grayson Perry was commissioned by Stonewall to design a pin badge celebrating the 30th anniversary of the British charity to be auctioned at their flagship ‘Equality Dinner’. A limited edition of 10 pieces were then produced at Factum Arte to form one of the top prizes at the fundraising event, which took place on March 14th 2019.
Details on the process, which involved 3D printing and injection of pigment-mixed resin, can be found here.
Since 2018, Factum Arte has been developing and coordinating the production of a series of works with Dutch artist Jan Hendrix that will be on display at the Museo Universitario de Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) in Mexico City. The exhibition will run from May 5th to September 22nd 2019, before going on tour the following year.
To find out more about the previous works produced at Factum in collaboration with Hendrix, please click here.
On the morning of the 1st March, the American photographer Mariana Cook presented her new series at a private viewing hosted by Factum Arte: 13 black-and-white images inspired by the fascinating variety of patterns and textures unintentionally thrust upon the tools and objects in use throughout Factum's workshop, ranging from a painter's vest, cast salt, and a butcher's knife.
The prints were formed through aquatinted copper plates being printed upon 300 gsm Somerset Satin paper with Charbonnel etching ink, producing the deep black in each print. The shape of the object, untouched by the inked plate, was then coated with clear gelatin over which a digital pigment print was precisely registered on Factum Arte's flatbed printer. The digitally printed elements were coated with a UV resistant varnish in order to enchance the difference between the black of the background and the tonal subtley of the 'fetishes', adding a physical dimension to the images.
These were shown alongside a group of large-scale photographs by Cook, printed on gesso-coated aluminium, depicting kamenitzas (indents in limestone that accumalate water and create the conditions for life) in Western Ireland and glacial erratics in New Zealand.