A new exhibition in the Czech Republic featuring work by SVA students explores the potential of computer-aided design and 3D printing in art. The show is the latest installment of a year-long exchange between the BFA Fine Arts Department at SVA and the Faculty of Fine Arts at Brno University of Technology (BUT) , which took four of the participating SVA students and faculty members to Brno over Spring Break.
“Digital Exchange” includes sculptures by 18 students from SVA and BUT. Conceived in Modo or SolidWorks software, all the works started out as data files, which were printed on site; no objects changed hands. To facilitate the exchange, the works were limited in size by the printer’s output. Given all the technology involved, it’s somewhat surprising that many of the sculptures reference human anatomy and biology, either from an anatomical or cellular perspective. But the mostly monochromatic sculptures are striking in their formal complexity.
“I try to push the machine to the limit,” says SVA student Wenye Fang. “I think good art, whether it be conceptual or figurative, goes beyond the boundaries of its own material.” Fang makes intricate sculptures based on close studies of aquatic life; he looks at skeletons the way most people look at snowflakes. Also participating from SVA are BFA Fine Arts students Angela Alba, Vincent C.Y. Chen, Anne Clinton, Ha Na Kim, Avery Noyes, Agatha Salvatierra, Andrew Senken, Kelly Singer and David Woo.
Jana Schlosserova is one of the participating Czech students who traveled to SVA last fall to work in the BFA Fine Arts studios and visit classes. Her work in the exhibition—based on a scan of a plastic bag—continues the tradition of using drapery in sculpture. “3D technology is letting me create sculptures that could not be made any other way,” she says, “it helps me implement my ideas without restrictions.” In addition to the BUT-SVA exhibition, Schlosserova is showing work she made at SVA at the Galerie Jiri Putna in Brno.
“The students can compare the possible uses of 3D technology and get a wider perspective on their own artistic endeavors, and we can compare educational systems,” says Barbora Lungova, a faculty member and vice dean for international relations at BUT, who initiated the collaboration with Suzanne Anker, chair of BFA Fine Arts at SVA. Offering degrees in fine art and architecture, along with business, chemistry, information technology and civil, electrical and mechanical engineering, BUT has been an important European center of technological research since its founding in 1899.
According to SVA’s Ivy Castellanos, one of two SVA faculty members to make the trip to Brno along with Michael Falk, the city made for the ideal backdrop for students to explore new forms of visual expression. “You can’t throw a rock without hitting some form of art or design,” says Castellanos. “The city has many outdoor sculptures, galleries, museum, pop-up shops and studios.”
Curated by Jana Korinkova, “Digital Exchange” was originally presented at the SVA Flatiron Gallery from September 28 – October 19, 2013 under the title “Everything Digital.” The current exhibition is on view at Galerie U Dobreho pstyre, Radnicka 4, Brno, through April 15.
Images, top to bottom: The exhibition venue in Brno, Czech Republic, photo Wenye Fang; Wenye Fang, untitled, 2014, 3D print, photo Wenye Fang; Jana Schlosserova, untitled, 2013, 3D print and plaster composite, photo Jan vermouzek; Vincent C.Y. Chen (right) works on Sexy and Fabulous, 2013, 3D print and ABS plastic, photo Ivy Castellanos; Chen’s finished sculpture, photo Jan Vermouzek.