SIGNS OF SENTIENCE Metal portrayed as alive material
My exam work is a sculptural object with interpretation of steel being alive, which shows signs of organic growth. The purpose of the work is to oppose the popular idea that steel is just used for tools and constructions, and to portray a sentient mass that has a will of its own. I have always had a fascination of natural forms and my previous projects during the program has had the common theme of portraying growth. The idea of metal being sentient can be found in philosophy called “panpsychism” where all matter is believed to have mind-like aspects. With a background of learning the craft of blacksmithing I have acquired skills and techniques to shape metal. There is a dialogue of sorts between the material and the person who shapes it. My goal has been to create one artwork that contains signs reminiscent of life and to explore ways to show the contrast between the forms that portray the metal being alive and the forms that seem lifeless. I wanted to emphasize on the power of growth and the strength of the material. My process started with sketching on paper. My final sketch on which the sculpture is based has the wanted feel to it, but I have had an open process working with the material to reach the final result. I have experimented with different techniques to form my desired shapes making sample pieces and developed the three-dimensional forms as the project advanced. When presenting the work, I got feedback from professional artists. Among other comments it was said that I managed to capture a lightness of a living organism in the work and that the sculpture could not have been made from other materials, which was one of the main points of the work. I also exhibited the sculpture in a central venue in Gothenburg together with my fellow graduates. Although it was an ambitious project within the given timeframe and an exhausting process, the struggle I put in to creating it gives it strength and this carries through life as a strength of growth.