Norwegian artistic duo “L+S” has created a bronze sculpture of a tree using SLA 3D printing as part of the workflow. The duo, consisting of Lutz-Rainer Müller and Stian Ådlandsvik, was commissioned to create the four-metre sculpture by Ullertunet, a dementia nursing home in Oslo.
The bronze tree was created using a variation upon the traditional “lost wax” process for casting. Around a thousand photos of the bare-branched tree were turned into a 3D scan using photogrammetry. The artists then refined the model for casting using DSM Somos TetraShell technology. A build processor simplified the large sculpture into smaller portions, which were fabricated on one of the Materialise Mammoth 3D printers.
Once the pieces of the model were reconstructed, 3D printing enabled bronze-smith Thomas Sijen to “skip a few parts” of the traditional lost wax casting method, saving time and expense. This involved a composite “plaster” mould being created around the model before bronze was directly poured into it. Once cooled, the composite was broken away to reveal the bronze form of the tree.
Explaining the reason for casting only half a tree, Ådlandsvik states that they wished to explore the concepts of “time…memory, healing…and dignity”, particularly the fragmentary nature of memory for those affected by dementia. The sculpture itself was then installed beside the tree on which it was modelled, where patients would be able to see them side-by-side, one living and growing with the seasons, and the other “frozen in time”.
Bronze and beyond
3D printing to create sculptures is finding increasing application in the art world and has been around for over a decade now.
Materialise also has a long history of working with artistic projects, even hosting an exhibition showcasing the work of Andy Warhol (from a 3D printed perspective) during RAPID. For the company’s 25th anniversary, a 3D printed art show was held at the Bozar Center in Brussels.
Furthermore, this is not the first time that L+S has used the technology in their work. A 2013 work “Lalt and Sepper” consists of salt and pepper cellars shaped like the artists’ underarm bones. The porcelain receptacles were created using 3D printed moulds of CAT-scans of the artists’ arms.
Featured image: The bronze tree in situ at the Ullertunet nursing home. Photo via Materialise Manufacturing on Youtube.