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NeoReplicants — Current Exhibition Displays 3D Printed Work of 30 Artists

Unique works of art created using 3D Design and 3D Printing equipment at the University of Exeter are on display in an exhibition at the Phoenix Gallery and showcases the diverse potential of the technology.

Neoreplicants brings together the results of a partnership between Exeter Phoenix’s annual Digital Art Commission and the University of Exeter’s Centre for Additive Layer Manufacturing (CALM). The partnership also provided thirty South West based visual artists with the opportunity to explore the possibilities offered by emerging 3D printing technologies to their art making practice, and to exhibit the results to the public.

CALM invited the 30 professional artists to work with its engineers on its 3D printers through the summer earlier this year.  Dr Sara Flint, commercial manager of CALM, explains: “This collaboration was an extremely exciting opportunity for us to work with artists who all had very different creative ideas about how they could use our 3D printing technology. The results are a striking showcase of its possibilities, and in themselves they’re visually stunning. The artists have gained a new way of working, which could benefit them commercially, which is part of our aim. I hope the exhibition will also serve as a platform to highlight our work to a wider audience, and encourage more to find out how we could work with them.”

The service was free to the artists involved. Through its funding channels, CALM covered the costs of training, materials, consultation and manufacturing while Phoenix provided free exhibition space and additional support.  The art works range from architectural structures to representations of the artists’ own blood cells. Some of the artists developed a completely new approach to their practices — which is precisely one of the key advantages of 3D printing: working in ways that were previously unimaginable.

This is the Centre’s first collaboration with artists and it came about when staff from Exeter Phoenix attended an open day for businesses interested in finding out more about how to benefit from the technology. Curiosity from fellow artists followed, and led to a specialist workshop being developed. Thanks to its success, Phoenix is now hosting Neoreplicants — an entire exhibition dedicated to the results. It launched at the end of last week, and opened to the public on 16th November to great acclaim. The exhibition will run for a couple of months, up until 19th January 2013.

One artist, Maia Conran, has been selected to take the concept further by developing a new exhibition in 2013. In her work for the NeoReplicants Exhibition, she aimed to blur the lines between the virtual and the physical by creating a cinema space within the gallery.

Maia said: “I wasn’t sure what to expect from working with CALM, but the experience has opened the door to a whole new world of possibility and helped me to develop an exciting new body of work. It was inspirational to have access to new ideas and new technologies. The engineers at CALM were extremely helpful and knowledgeable and I thoroughly enjoyed the collaborative process of working with them. I’m delighted with the results, which have led to led to a new commission for a solo exhibition, and I’m already full of ideas for my next project.”

Entrance to the exhibition in Exeter is free and gallery opening times are Monday – Saturday, 10 am – 5 pm.

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