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Recreate a lost sculpture by the Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni, using digital sculpting techniques and 3D printing technology.
Recreate a lost sculpture by the Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni, using digital sculpting techniques and 3D technology.
Recreate a lost sculpture by the Futurist artist Umberto Boccioni, using digital sculpting techniques and 3D technology.
113 backers pledged £5,295 to help bring this project to life.

About

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Overview

I'm Matt Smith, a digital artist and designer inspired by Umberto Boccioni's sculptures. I would like to create the first full size 3D printed reproduction of Boccioni's lost art. The work is called 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' made in 1913. The photograph above (first panel) was taken before the sculpture was destroyed, over 100 years ago. The second and third panels in the image above are my digital reconstructions of the lost sculpture.

Using digital tools, I hope to re-create a full scale 1.17 metres (3ft 9 inches) tall 3D print of this lost art, so it can engage and inspire a new audience.

Rewards to backers who help kick start the project will include; 3D prints, digital images to download and a time-lapse video of the sculpting process.

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Sono Matt Smith, un designer e artista digitale ispirato dalle sculture di Umberto Boccioni. Ho in progetto di creare la prima riproduzione stampata in 3D di una scultura perduta di Boccioni. L'opera da riprodurre e' intitolata 'Espansione spiralica di muscoli in movimento' . La fotografia di sopra e' stata scattata prima che la scultura fosse distrutta, piu' di 100 anni fa'. La seconda e terza immagine rappresentano la mia ricostruzione digitale della scultura perduta. Usando strumenti digitali spero di ricreare, in grandezza naturale, una stampa in 3D di un metro di lunghezza e offrirla a Gallerie d'arte per poterla esporre al pubblico. In omaggio a chi sovvenziona attraverso Kickstarter verranno offerte stampe 3D, immagini digitali da scaricare e filmati che documentano il progresso del progetto.

How was it lost?

Dramatised impression. Why was the work destroyed?
Dramatised impression. Why was the work destroyed?

Spiral Expansions, was first shown in 1913 in Paris, as part of Boccioni's solo exhibition of 11 sculptures. A few years later, the sculptures were smashed to pieces, which I find shocking.

Fortunately 3 sculptures were salvaged by his friends. However 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' was beyond saving.

It's not exactly clear why this happened. One explanation is that his sculptures were stored in a courtyard after the event and were hacked to pieces by workmen anxious to clear out this area for another show. Another explanation is that a fellow artist smashed up the work as he was in need of the plaster.

Who was Umberto Boccioni?

Umberto Boccioni (1882-1916) was an Italian painter and sculptor, who in his short lifetime of 33 years became extremely influential in the Futurist movement. In 1916 he was drafted into the Italian Army. During a cavalry training exercise he was thrown from his horse, and tragically died the following day from his injuries.

Boccioni’s artistic work started with painting and drawing, and these led onto his great works of sculpture.

Boccioni's methods used the most adaptable material at the time - plaster. It gave him the freedom to work the way he wanted.

The bronze castings of 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space' were made 30 years after his death.

Boccioni and the Futurists rejected traditional sculptural materials; marble and metal (although we owe much to the casting in bronze, as it preserved the work for later generations to enjoy)

Rewards and Pledges

Please check out all the different rewards on the right. For your very own scale model, a high quality 3D print from a specialist professional company, there are 3 sizes to choose from, SMALL - 7.5 cm (3 inches) tall, MEDIUM - 11.5 cm (4.5 inches) tall, and LARGE - 15 cm (6 inches) tall.

6 inch and 3 inch rewards, even the small one has incredible detail when printed professionally
6 inch and 3 inch rewards, even the small one has incredible detail when printed professionally

UPDATE: To mark this Kickstarter launch, there is a choice for backers, 'K' edition to the underneath of the base, limited to the 3D prints in this campaign. The K is like the one used in the Logo.

Artist impression  (small print will have the 'K' only)
Artist impression (small print will have the 'K' only)

 UPDATE: I'm excited to offer a limited number of metal 3D prints for this campaign. LARGE - 15 cm (6 inches). The metal prints are professionally made using 3D printed layers of stainless steel powder, which are then infused with bronze, approximately 60% steel and 40% bronze. A limited edition number will be stamped underneath the base. You can also choose Backed by 'your name' or even just your backer number to be stamped underneath if you choose. 

There may be some visible lines. I have an impression here to help illustrate the look, I have test samples and the results are fantastic, I'm keeping this to a very limited number, and may offer a variation in colour and polish options, backers will be able to feedback and guide the choices at this level.

Steel bronze reward - artist impression
Steel bronze reward - artist impression
Artists impression, there may be some visible lines as part of the process, and polished options reduces this further
Artists impression, there may be some visible lines as part of the process, and polished options reduces this further

In addition there are images to download, of both the reconstructed lost sculpture and some of my own original artwork.

Digital re-construction, example of an image reward, download and print for personal use
Digital re-construction, example of an image reward, download and print for personal use

If the project meets its funding goal and the full size 3D statue is shown in public, backers who pledge over £10 will be acknowledged as a sponsor when the full size sculpture is shown, through printed information with the work.

Why recreate the sculpture?  

I wanted to understand more about this unique sculpture, to study the work. As it no longer existed, that was going to be a challenge. The photographs taken by Boccioni over 100 years ago are an invaluable guide. I saw the possibility of piecing the fragments together and sharing what I learned with others.

I've thoroughly researched every available visual reference, photographs, drawings and rare books, to help me recreate the work in 3D as the artist intended.

'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' is a great accomplishment in its own right. Made just before his master piece, 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space' 1913.

By recreating 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' the comparisons with his masterpiece 'Unique forms' become much clearer. I hope this will give a wider view and context to his masterpiece.

Personally, I believe this sculpture is captivating and unique. I hope you also share my enthusiasm and deep interest in the work and the project.

Visualisation of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' in a gallery
Visualisation of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' in a gallery

Where does the money go?

Initially I will use some of the money to complete the 'Spiral Expansions' digital sculpture. I will then create more prototypes to ensure the final piece is at the highest quality, before the rewards are sent to backers.

The remaining funds will be used to create the full size reproduction.

Why me?

This is primarily an artistic project. It gives me an opportunity to give something back to an Artist's legacy that has given so much inspiration to myself and many others.

I first discovered Boccioni's work over 20 years ago as an art student. His ability to capture movement and fluidity in sculpture was unlike anything I'd ever seen, and continues to inspire me.

On a trip through Italy a few years ago, I learned more about Boccioni's lost sculptures. There was nothing physically remaining of the lost sculptures, just photographs taken by the Artist. I was excited to have found out about the work, but equally frustrated that I would never get to see these lost sculptures.

I wondered if there was something I could do about that.

In the subsequent years, I've developed my skills as sculptor in a digital environment, I explored the available records on the lost sculptures and experimented with new technologies.

I found the freedom of digital 3D and animation a wonderful medium to explore my own unique shapes and forms (see below). Some of these will be available as rewards for backers to download, along with my images of Boccioni's lost sculpture. I now feel I'm ready, to complete the work. 

Examples of my recent abstract work Matt Smith 2015
Examples of my recent abstract work Matt Smith 2015

Website links: www.uniqueforms.net

Examples of my experimental abstract animations, influenced by Boccioni's work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3PT3sy9RMRE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=LIbMcnIVcMQ

The process

In the spirit of Futurism, I've chosen to recreate 'Spiral Expansion' using Digital design tools and 3D printing, I think Boccioni would have approved.

There are four main stages:

1. Research

Studying the photographs, and Boccioni's drawings, rare books and documentary evidence are the first steps in recreating the work.

In 2010 to test the emerging technology, I completed my own digital re-creation of 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'. It helped me to understand the sculpture's forms and would be a guide for the work ahead.

Digital recreation of 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'
Digital recreation of 'Unique Forms of Continuity in Space'

2. Sculpting in a digital environment

Creating the digital master file for the full scale 3D print.

Software has advanced so much that artists can approach sculpture in a similar way as they would with traditional clay models. It isn't quite as hands on as real clay. Here I mould with a digital pen on a tablet screen to shape the 3D model.

Below is a time-lapse sped up video footage of the work being created, a longer version is available as a reward for backers. If only it was this quick in reality.......

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3. Maquettes

At key points in the sculpting process, I 3D print models to help me check the appearance of the work. This is similar to how artists traditionally use maquettes. The work as a physical form teaches me a great deal more than just working on the computer. I've invested in my own 3D printer to make this happen quickly.

4. 3D Print

The goal is to 3D print the sculpture as one piece, 1.17 metres (3ft 9 inches) tall. Using large industrial machines that produce highly detailed results is ambitious (and another word for expensive).

Preparing the digital file for the specific machine is achieved by working closely with the manufactures and technicians.

The aim is to eventually show this work in a gallery, initially in London later this year.

How can you help?

By pledging and sharing the project with friends and family. The rewards to backers offer a range of choices, all contribute to recreating the lost sculpture. I'd be delighted if you would consider one or more of the following:

Back the project  - every pledge helps

Watch the video - this raises the profile of the campaign

Share - using Tweets, Facebook, email and blogs

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FuturismsLostSculpture

Risks and challenges

As the work doesn't exist yet, you are helping bring this project to life, giving it a much needed kick start. I've backed a few projects, so I realise how important it is to manage expectations, and keep you updated with the progress. Even with the best planning, unforeseen problems could arise, and I will always try and fix any hiccups along the way.

Shipping
Learning from the Kickstarter community, it helps if you can supply a shipping address that won't change in the near future, and if you are moving home frequently, a work or parents address may be better to avoid any problems.

International shipping
The 3D prints will be made and sent from one of the world's leading 3D printing companies which I've used myself for the last few years. They are experienced and professional in shipping worldwide, and they've handled Kickstarter campaigns before. Mistakes can still occur, if packages are delayed, or lost, it can be sorted out, just contact me to let me know.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £1 or more About $1.33

    "THANK YOU" posted on my pledge list webpage for all backers, and you'll receive updates on the projects progress

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    8 backers
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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $7

    1 Image to download and print (for personal use) of the digital reconstruction of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement'. Includes desktop digital wall paper version

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    7 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £10 or more About $13

    4 Digital images to download and print (for personal use). Two views of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement' and two images of my art
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    9 backers
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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge £15 or more About $20

    Time-lapse video of the sculpting process. The video is great for those curios about this approach
    + 4 digital images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    5 backers
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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge £30 or more About $40

    EARLY BIRD SPECIAL
    3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement'
    SMALL - 7.5 cm (3 inches) tall
    professional quality
    + Time lapse video
    + 4 digital images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 41 backers
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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £35 or more About $46

    3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement'
    SMALL - 7.5 cm (3 inches) tall
    professional quality
    + Time lapse video
    + 4 digital images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    5 backers
    £
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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £70 or more About $93

    3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement'
    MEDIUM - 11.5 cm (4.5 inches) tall
    professional quality
    + Time lapse video
    + 4 digital images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    11 backers
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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £140 or more About $186

    3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement'
    LARGE - 15 cm (6 inches) tall professional quality
    + Time lapse video
    + 4 digital images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    10 backers
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge £450 or more About $597

    Custom photo-images of your choice, we will work together to create any image of the work you like, camera angle, zoom of the digital model. You may also choose a different look for the images, eg. bronze This would be around 8 shots. Use a local or online printing company to create prints for your personal use
    + 3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion' LARGE - 15 cm (6 inches) tall, professional quality
    + Time-lapse video
    + 4 digital Images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 1 backer
    £
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge £700 or more About $929

    Metal - Steel bronze 3D Print of 'Spiral Expansion' LARGE - 15 cm (6 inches)
    Professionally made using 3D printed layers of stainless steel powder, which are then infused with bronze, approximately 60% steel and 40% bronze. A limited edition number will be stamped underneath the base. You can also choose Backed by 'your name' to be stamped underneath if you choose. Please see image updates and notes in rewards section on surface details.

    + Time-lapse video
    + 4 digital Images to download and print (for personal use)
    + Your name on the plinth when the full size sculpture is first shown in the gallery

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    Limited 0 backers
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Funding period

- (31 days)