Metamorphose is re-examination of how we restore and preserve sculptures in a dystopian future era. This series was inspired by the famous Belvedere Torso and the mythos around it. It was rumored that Michelangelo intervened when the clergy wanted to restore the Belvedere Torso by reconstructing the head and legs. Michelangelo was firmly against that decision, saying that it would make it uglier suggesting that the torso is more beautiful in its fragmented state. Metamorphose is an exploration of Michelangelo's conviction. I wanted to re-examine famous sculptures through different textures, lighting, and compositions.
I began my process by questioning how these sculptures would be preserved as they age over time. For this, I asked myself how these sculptures would look in 1000 years time. In the same way we try to preserve the authenticity and fragments of current sculptures, I wanted to preserve the original form of the scans and play around with the idea of sculptures being preserved with a blended material.
I wanted the material to look as if it was created by superheating and pressing residues of 2 separate rocks together. My thought process came from the excavation of marble in the mountains of Italy and its increasingly short supply of it. The idea is that we will eventually mine it into extinction and sculptors would need to rely on recycled composites created from smaller pieces which were previously discarded in favor of larger and cleaner slabs. It was also my attempt at deviating from that perfect clean marble look and add more character through this material I had created. I wanted to add a primal characteristic to these scans and re-imagine them as if they were sculpted out from underneath a cliff where the rock composition wasn't as homogenous. It was my attempt at imagining how these sculptures would live in the future where there is no guarantee that the originals would even exist or imagining them in such a way that this would be a luxury product for the rich.
In some ways, this project started on my trip to New York a couple of months ago when I went to the MET museum in the Greek artifacts section. I was on my analog camera shooting with a 500 ISO high contrast roll inside of it. That's how I managed to get the picture you see above. I didn't expect it to turn out as good as it did nor was I actually drawn to the sculpture itself. I just thought it would make a cool picture. It was only after I had developed my roll back in Montreal that I started appreciating what I was seeing. Sometimes, you just need to revisit your subject through different lenses to change your preconceived notions about it. The grainy B&W roll and the portrait lenses on my camera had done just that. I was immediately hooked on the bokeh effect, atmospheric lighting, grain particles and the fragmented ridge on the top of the head. I knew I wanted to make something with it.
Last month, I re-watched the most recent Alien movie, The Covenant. There was one scene in particular that stuck with me where David, Weyland's android, chooses his name after witnessing the statue of David. Once again, I was drawn to the statue and I couldn't help but notice how well-preserved it was in the Alien universe despite it being set in the year 2104. I sort of imagined that these sculptures would get damaged or completely destroyed and would therefore need to be restored in some other ways with odd materials or replicas. I guess I was expecting something like in the Blade Runner movies where a material such as wood is highly expensive and scarce, encouraging people to build with cheaper materials or a composite. Needless to say, these 2 movies helped me dictate the art direction of the materials and the lighting.