Bench Press

Benchmarks: Worktops Made into Beautiful Art with 3D Scanning & CNC Milling

benchmarks

Ghanian artist El Anatsui and Factum Arte have created a series of contemporary art prints called Benchmarks, featuring 3D scanned worktops.

El Anatsui is a popular contemporary visual artist from Ghana. His work addresses historical and political concerns and, because of this, his pieces are on display across the world. 

To develop his artwork, Anatsui uses a range of processes and different medias. For his latest work, called “Benchmarks”, he collaborated with Factum Arte who utilize 3D scanning and CNC milling. These pieces are now on show at London’s October Gallery.

Most notably, this work provides a different perspective to Anatsui’s usual art. For many of his pieces, he uses scrap materials to create hangings using a “sewing” process.

However, the Benchmarks pieces focus on the process rather than the final product. In order to be able to sew the bottle tops together, Anatsui first flattens the caps on a worktop. This unintentionally results in an interesting pattern left ingrained on the wood.

Mike Ward from Factum Arte explains: “The labour and intensiveness of this work has become apparent and in itself really rather beautiful in the texture and surface of the blocks of wood on which all this stabbing and bashing took place.”

Using 3D Printing and a Wooden Worktop to Create Art

For “Benchmarks”, fourteen wooden tabletops were sent from Ghana to Factum Arte in London and 3D scanned. The data from these 3D scans are the basis for CNC milling replicas of their unique textures onto aluminium sheets.

Factum Arte is an organisation which develops technologies that artists and institutions can then use in their artwork. This results in some very interesting pieces. They decided that the benches, as everyday objects, could represent Anatsui’s traditional work in a different form.

From the aluminium sheets, Factum Arte and the October Gallery collaborated to create beautifully pocketed prints. Usually, Anatsui drapes his final pieces from the side of buildings where they draw a lot of attention.

However, “Benchmarks” offers smaller pieces and uses both traditional methods and new technologies. Ward explains the relevance of these prints to Anatsui’s work. He said:

“I think they relate very directly, indeed. In his large huge draped pieces there are areas of colour that have been sort of placed, juxtaposed to other areas with some sort of sensitivity and sense, but there within that there’s randomness. In the same way, these are collages of printed material. Each one of these is a separate print that have been scattered and then gathered and reorganised.”

Interested in finding out more about Anatsui’s work? You can visit “Benchmarks” in London from April 6th – May 13th, 2017.

Source: FT

benchmarks