Blockchain technology has revolutionized the art world in previously unimaginable ways, transforming traditional art forms and paving the way for the creation of new ones.
One such example is sculpture, which has slowly started to incorporate unlockable NFTs, now transforming the way we view and interact with sculpture.
In this blog post, we will take a closer look at 10 examples of how sculpture is employing blockchain technology to create unique and innovative works of art.
The Work of Sculptor Leo Caillard
Marble sculptor and digital artist Léo Caillard has made a career of toying with our relationship with time as a cultural artifact. Through a blend of anachronisms, he prompts viewers to reflect on the present as a revered historical moment and to reflect upon the past as a much more familiar place than it might seem.
Caillard’s own practice is itself a blend of anachronism and techno-progressivism, pairing handmade marble sculptures with high-resolution digital counterparts. Likewise, in his sculptural works, the relics of bygone eras we normally see in ancient statuary and art — things like swords, discuses, and tritons — are replaced by baseball caps, sunglasses, and VR goggles.
MECH Toys by Javier Arres
World-renowned GIF artist Javier Arrés is known for his manically detailed illustrations of fantastical scenery from cities, architecture, and machines with a genre all his own called “visual toys.”
In an upcoming release, Arrés, for the first time ever, brings his digital toys to life for a small-batch generative collection of phygital robots spanning four releases. Each release will include an NFT digital artwork of an Arrés robot and an unlockable physical robot corresponding to that NFT.
La Voiture Noire by Bugatti x Asprey
In a collaborative effort between the London-based luxury designer Asprey and luxury automaker Bugatti, the duo created a one-of-a-kind sculpture of Bugatti’s La Voiture Noire hyper sports car for £378,000, including buyer’s premium, along with its accompanying artwork and NFT.
The sculpture was created by Asprey and is based on the infamous lost type 57sc Atlantic and its modern-day reimagining, the Bugatti La Voiture Noire. The sculpture is made of gold and was handmade by master silversmiths over the course of six months in Asprey’s London workshop.
The NFT accompanying the sculpture is linked to its physical counterpart via a QR code and unique serial identifier and unlocks the choice of an additional sculpture — an accompanying Noire version — that the buyer can choose to commission if they so wish for an additional cost.
This project followed the extraordinary demand for the instantly sold-out series of 261 smaller sterling silver sculptures of the Bugatti Asprey collection, each also with a respective NFT.
HΞXAVΞRSE by Don Diablo
In mid-2022, Don Diablo unveiled the first outdoor NFT sculpture, HΞXAVΞRSE. The sculpture took the form of two futuristic doors that opened into a metaverse environment featuring Don Diablo’s “metahuman” avatar as videos. The sculpture was fully controllable remotely, allowing viewers to experience the metaverse as the artist intended.
As Diablo uploaded more digital content to the piece, the artwork evolved and changed over time. HΞXAVΞRSE was on display until November in two iconic locations, K11 Musea in Hong Kong and K11 Shanghai, before travelling the world.
The sculpture was the world’s first outdoor roving NFT sculpture and represented a bridge between the physical world and the metaverse, inviting viewers to contemplate the relationship between the real and the virtual.
Geometries by Frank Stella
Renowned artist Frank Stella released a set of NFTs that allowed buyers to 3D print one or more of his digital sculptures. Stella rose to fame in the late ’50s with his Black Paintings series featuring minimalist designs on massive canvases. He later transitioned to sculpture and became one of the first artists to use computer-aided design tools to create sculptures in the physical world.
The series available for purchase was called Geometries, consisting of 22 white 3D forms that represented Stella’s 30-year relationship with computation and 60-year exploration of painting and physical space.
Upon purchase, buyers received an NFT confirming their ownership of the Geometry, as well as the artwork file in various formats for image and video display, 3D printing, model manipulation or use in virtual reality, and augmented reality viewing. Buyers also received the right to 3D print the Geometry and create derivative works using any 3D-printable material and at any scale.
Sonic Sculptures by Brendan Dawes
Sonic Sculptures by Brendan Dawes was an attempt to make music physical again. Each model represents an entire musical track, time mapped around the shape in a circular clockwise motion, with the frequencies pushing and pulling the original starting torus into a new form. Each model was created in Processing, scaled, made hollow, and printed on a Makerbot Replicator 2 3D Printer. All the models can be downloaded from Thingiverse and printed via your own 3D printer or using an online service such as Shapeways.
The tracks used were:
- Joy Division – “Love Will Tear Us Apart”
- 808 State – “Pacific State”
- The Smiths – “How Soon Is Now”
- The Bee Gees – “Stayin’ Alive”
- The Buzzcocks – “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t’ve)”
- Elbow – “One Day Like This”
- Inspiral Carpets – “This is How it Feels to be Lonely”
Daydream OBJKT 8 by Rasmus Stride
Daydream OBJKT 8 by Rasmus Stride is an exploration of daydreams as the framework of expression. By using NFT and 3D-printing technology, the work spans more “universes” of utility and conception. Each edition is accompanied by an NFT version, allowing the holder to expand their custodianship over the artwork onto the blockchain, allowing the audience to own several versions of the work, both on the blockchain and in physical life.
Like a daydream the sculpture is physical and ephemeral, solid and digital, but ultimately a manifestation of cognition and art.
Objects of the Third Kind by Xavier Magaldi
Xavier Magaldi’s sculptures are made of brushed metal with salient edges, featuring a superposition of layers structured in the manner of an unknown alphabet, conjuring up images of glorious trophies destined for future civilizations.
Working with SPEERSTRA Gallery in Paris, Magaldi has been releasing his sculptures as video NFTs that are redeemable for the physical piece, a techno-progressive move that fits in line with his science fiction aesthetic.
KAWS Bronze Editions by KAWS
Artist Brian Donnelly, also known as KAWS, partnered with Hong Kong–based creative studio AllRightsReserved to release a collection of physical sculptures called “KAWS Bronze Editions” celebrating the studio’s anniversary and their 12-year partnership. The collection includes twelve physical sculptures, each in an edition of 250, with an additional 50 artist-proof sculptures available.
Each physical artwork is backed by blockchain authentication, including a chip that links it to a digital token, marking the first time KAWS has utilized the “tap-to-own” technology, offering holders both the physical items and the NFTs.
HUMAN ONE by Beeple
Beeple, the artist who made history alongside MakersPlace with the $69 million sale of his digital artwork in a Christie’s auction, created the 3D video sculpture called HUMAN ONE. This sculpture is a hybrid of physical and digital elements, a continuously evolving artwork, with Beeple planning to update it regularly to reflect current events.
HUMAN ONE is both an object and an NFT that displays changing imagery drawn from a data pool of Beeple’s visual creations. It runs for 24 hours on four video screens and is governed by a smart contract that tracks ownership. The sculpture represents a radical relationship of trust between the artist and the collector, as the artist retains control over how the artwork is presented, which is made possible by NFTs and blockchain.
If we’ve missed any examples or if you want to leverage MakersPlace’s Unlockable NFTs for your own project, email email@example.com.