Unfinished Sculpture - Captives #1

Quayola (IT)

Curatorial Context

The ongoing research behind Unfinished Sculptures is inspired by Michelangelo’s Prigioni (c. 1510-1530), a series of unfinished sculptures that has become emblematic of the expressiveness embedded in an exposed sculptural process. Meanwhile, as automation becomes increasingly widespread, the way in which we might relate to machines in the near future is coming under scrutiny. Quayola speculates on new robotic sculpting strategies, where technology is no longer so much an instrument of human creativity as a collaborator.  

Artwork Statement 

As a series of sculptures, Captives is a contemporary meditation on Michelangelo’s unfinished series. Whilst referencing Renaissance sculpture, the focus of Quayola's series shifts from figurative representation to the articulation of matter itself. As in the original  Prigioni, Quayola's unfinished figures document the very history of their creation and transformation. The physical sculpture on display here, Captives #1, was the starting point for Sculpture Factory, an ongoing research-led project on the use of robotics to (re)produce classical sculpture.

An accompanying video documents the Sculpture Factory. A large industrial robot live-sculpts endless variations of historical masterpieces. Though never delivering a finished sculpture, each attempt produces new articulations of matter. The result is a hybrid vision – a slow process of discovery that is not focused on reproducing any given original artwork of the Renaissance, but rather on the infinite possibilities involved in attempting to do so.   

Artist Bio

Quayola (IT) utilises technology as a lens through which to examine the potential tensions and equilibrium between seemingly opposing forces: real and artificial, figurative and abstract, old and new. In his immersive installations, Quayola engages with and re-imagines canonical imagery through his use of contemporary technology.  

Artwork Credits & Acknowledgements

  • Artwork by Quayola 
  • Produced by Quayola Studio 
  • Software Development: Natan Sinigaglia, Matt Swoboda, Julien Vuillet; Sound Design: David Kamp; Z-Brush: James Hardingham; Assistants: Matteo Zamagni, Aymie Backler; Fabricator: Voxeljets 
  • With the support of Ars Electronica and MU Gallery, Eindhoven.