SLS 3D print
61 x 48.5 x 60 cm
24 x 19.1 x 23.6 inches
The three “strawberry sculptures” AELBWARTS, NABEKIESAV and NABEKIARTS are the result of an exchange between Nick Ervinck and Dr A.P.M. Ton den Nijs, a scientist at the Plant Breeding Department of Wageningen University. This department holds a patent for the cultivation of a genetically manipulated variety of strawberry. Using the plant’s own DNA, the researchers developed a new strawberry variety that is resistant to fruit rot. It requires fewer pesticides and has a longer shelf life than a natural strawberry.
The influence of ikebana, the Japanese art of flower arranging, is very evident in NABEKIARTS. In this traditional art form, the vase, stems and leaves are as much a part of the composition as the flowers. The focus is more on the shape and the lines than on the colours or the flowers themselves. Each arrangement must also include stems that symbolise heaven, earth and humanity.
The third source of inspiration for these works was a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. There, Ervinck saw a display of 18th century Meissen vases that were illustrated with an allegorical depiction of the four seasons. These flamboyant vases are lavishly decorated with plants, animals and creatures that can seem more beautiful than their originals in the natural world. While this porcelain is a testament to great craftsmanship, it also has an absurd side: a combination that Ervinck strongly admires. While Rococo and Baroque are not styles that many people enjoy today, these artistic forms of plant mutation are an ode to the aspirations of that generation of sculptors. With AELBWARTS, NABEKIESAV and NABEKIARTS, Ervinck investigates how he can use today’s techniques to transcend or continue the craftsmanship of the past. His 3D prints are also the result of meticulous craftsmanship. Parts that are 3D printed are painted by hand: a process that requires patience and precision. Ervinck’s work reinvents classical sculpture through a cross-fertilisation between innovation and tradition and does so in a purely contemporary context.