Artist uses AddUp’s AM technology to make 19th century sculptures at the Beautés exhibition

Artist Agnès Geoffray mimicked 19th century armour and headwear structures using AddUp's 3D additive printing technology.

Additive Manufacturing Technology has come a long way since its inception and French company AddUp is a major player in this field. AddUp’s AM technology has been widely used to create 3D metal printed parts across various fields like aircraft engines, satellite parts, artificial hearts mesh finesse of high-end jewellery and sculptures etc.

Recently, the company’s technology was used to make metal sculpture parts by artist Agnès Geoffray. Geoffray showcased three sculptures at the Beautés exhibition presented by FRAC Auvergne. 

The Director of FRAC Auvergne Les Armeuses, Jean-Charles Vergne entrusted AddUp to support the artist Agnès Geoffray with AM technology for two years from 2021 to 2023. 

 AddUp made 3D metal parts for lace sculptures from the 19th and 20th centuries using laser-fused steel powder. For the sculpture parts, Jewellery designer Pascal Perun’s work was consulted to preserve the delicate complexity of sculptures shown at the Musée Crozatier in Le Puy-enVelay. 

Through metal 3D printing technology, steel lace corseting of headwear and the impenetrable protections of necklines, throats and nape armours were mimicked in the sculptures, giving them an elegant lace look. 

According to Agnès Geoffray’s vision of questioning gestures and postures in traditional sculptures, AddUp created 3D sculpture parts that depicted the austerity and femininity of that era. 

 “My research revolves around the notion of hold, bodies under influence, constraints inflicted on bodies, oppressed bodies, from the angle of the feminine and its representations. As part of the Frac Auvergne residency and AddUp partnership, I wanted to create sculptures using 3D metal printing technology”, said Geoffray.

Geoffray elaborated on how metal 3D printing technology was used to create stiffening lace collar motifs from the 19th century. Through this project, he sought to showcase the constraints of the body in clothing elements. 

“From corsets to armour, the aim has long been to civilise the body, shaping and constraining it under the guise of finery – between protection and oppression. The notion of the erect body, the upright body, spans many eras. The civilised body, which holds and maintains itself, seeks to constantly counter the body that sags – not to give in to passions. The expertise of the AddUp company, which agreed to collaborate on the project in partnership with FRAC Auvergne, has enabled me to create these unique sculptures, and above all to open up new perspectives on volume in my work, in the continuity of my plastic research”, said Geoffray.

Speaking about the 3D sculpture parts, the CEO of AddUp Frank Moreau highlighted how 3D additive printing solutions can create complex mesh work drawing knowledge from the past. 

According to Moreau, the innovative process of creating complex 3D metal parts has enabled the application of additive manufacturing to many new fields where high-precision objects are made by fusing materials. 

“The aim is to produce shapes that would be impossible using traditional processes. The work undertaken for over 2 years under the direction of Agnès Geoffray as part of an artist residency initiated by the FRAC Auvergne and supported by the DRAC Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, has resulted in sculptures of unsettling beauty, magnifying the capacity offered by our technology to create metal structures of unprecedented precision and finesse”, said Moreau.

According to AddUp CEO, this project showcased the power of human, art and technology relationship as designer Pascal Perun, artist Agnès Geoffray and the AddUp design team led by Maria Averyanova and Aurelien Duvauchelle worked together to develop the sculpture for the exhibition. 

While Perun designed the laces using softwares, the 3D printing of the sculpture parts was done by AddUp machines which were then used by Geoffray for his three sculptures on display at  Beautés exhibition where 39 artists from the FRAC Auvergne collection are showcasing their work. 

AddUp is a product of French industrial groups Michelin and Fives, and it builds on the respective companies’ expertise. While Michelin is known for its laser powder bed fusion (L-PBF) technology, Fives is an expert in the design, manufacture and distribution of machine tools. 

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