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3D Printed Sculptures by Nick Ervinck Explore Mutations of Humans and Nature

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Fostering a cross-pollination between the digital and the physical, Nick Ervinck (°1981, Belgium) explores the boundaries between various media. Studio Nick Ervinck applies tools and techniques from new media, in order to explore the aesthetic potential of sculpture, 3D prints installation, architecture and design.

By combining fragmentary elements from the past with anatomical parts and a futuristic imagery, a series of fascinating cyborg-sculptures came into being. With their majestic pose and piercing gaze, they tower over the visitor as if they were heroic god statues from the future. Through the use of the latest computer software and 3D printing techniques, our studio was able to design and execute the complex works. The sculpture TIASURAK also entails a similar dialogue between the futuristic and glossy armour.

This refers to the evolution that our own skin has gone through. While the first people on earth still had fur coats, we now wear clothes to protect us and keep us warm. The technology of the future may allow us to develop a multifunctional skin, that provides extra strength and more protection from harsh weather conditions. These series of works reflect on the growing integration of technology in our society – and in our bodies. This evolution offers endless possibilities and solutions for the future. Revolutionary technologies and artificial intelligence could potentially solve important problems in our society, such as climate change, poverty or even mortality. At the same time, this search for a modified ‘super human’ cannot remain without consequences.

The NABEKIARTS sculpture is based on the ideas of mutation and manipulation that have always appealed to our imagination. In the ‘plant mutation’ series, Nick uses 3D experiments to explore ideas of both organic and genetically engineered life forms. These works question how far we can or should go in manipulating food. Research into crop mutation is not new. Following the Second World War, the socalled “Atoms for Peace” programme was established to look into ways to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. In the gardens of national laboratories in Europe and the former Soviet Union, plants were irradiated in such a way that different varieties could be produced.

With these disease-resistant mutations scientists hoped to solve the problem of food shortage. It is not known if these genetically manipulated crops effectively meant an improvement to public health, but it did seem that now scientists could play God. Today, teams of researchers continue to look for ways to optimize our crops and food security. With these plant mutation sculptures, our studio investigates how we can use today’s techniques to transcend or continue the craftsmanship of the past. Our work reinvents classical sculpture through a cross-fertilization between innovation and tradition and does so in a purely contemporary context.

Through his divergent practice, a strong fascination with the construction of space is noticeable. Not only does Nick Ervinck focus on the autonomous sculptural object, he also questions its spatial positioning and points to the phenomenological experience and embodiment of space. Ervinck’s work in short oscillates between the static and the dynamic, prospecting new virtual or utopian territories.

Nick Ervinck’s work has been included in numerous group shows, nationally as well as internationally. His work has been exhibited at Ars Electronica Linz, Musée Paul Valéry Sète, CBK Emmen, Beelden aan Zee Den Haag, Bozar Brussels, LABoral Gijon, MOCA Shanghai, MARTa Herford, Kunstverein Ahlen, Koraalberg Antwerp, Zebra-straat Ghent, HISK Ghent, Vrijstaat O./Freestate Ostend, Superstories Hasselt, BrakkeGrond Amsterdam, MAMA Rotterdam, Hermitage Amsterdam, Ron Mandos Amsterdam Creative World Biennale Oklahoma, Highlight San Francisco,Telic Art Exchange Los Angeles/Berlin.

In 2005, he received the Godecharle prize for Sculpture, to be followed by the Mais prize of the City of Brussels and the Prize for Visual Art of West-Flanders in 2006. In 2008, Ervinck was a laureate of the RodenbachFonds Award, and he won the audience award for new media at Foundation Liedts-Meesen.


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