When Portuguese artist Pedro Cabrita Reis decided to reinterpret a classic piece of antiquity, The Three Graces, he turned to cork to bring his creation to life. Reis used cork from Portugal to construct three sculptures that were created at the invitation of the Louvre Museum in Paris, as part of the Portugal-France 2022 Crusade Season.
The Three Graces have inspired artists throughout the ages who have interpreted the Graces in their own unique styles, both as paintings and as sculptures. The Graces are conventionally represented as three female figures intertwined and embracing each other. But Reis took a different approach to his original work when he received the challenge, deciding to create three separate pieces that are conceptually united.
Reis started by making small models crafted from figures of saints that are generally sold as kitsch. He then cut up the figures and put them back together to create abstract works that could no longer be identified as the individual figures or as iconography. Reis sent the mockups to a company that machines robotics, which passed them on to a vector computer program that gives orders to a robotic arm.
To realize his vision, Reis worked with cork blocks created by Corticeira Amorim. He told Lusa News Agency that the robotic arm was used to sculpt the blocks “joining cork with other materials that, without compromising ecology and sustainability, give it a resistance that allows it to be, as they will be,” outdoors.
Each of the three statues stand nearly 15 feet tall and weigh about 1,100 pounds. Reis “cut” the sculptures into four fragments using unworked blocks of cork which he explains, “appear to be integrated into the sculpture, and with that, they prolong the time of understanding of the sculpture.”
Reis chose to work with cork because of its resistance but also notes that it maintains an “interesting fragility.” Thanks to its honeycomb structure, cork is resistant to wear and its airtight cells contain a gas mixture similar to air that give it its unique flexibility. Cork is also able to adapt to changes in temperature and pressure without suffering variations and is impermeable to liquids.
As a 100 percent natural raw material, cork is environmentally friendly and renewable. It’s harvested from the bark of the cork oak without cutting down the trees that can live for up to 200 years. Once processed into products such as wine stoppers, cork can be recycled and used in a variety of applications from industrial materials to artistic projects.
The “Three Graces” will be on display at the Tuileries Gardens adjacent to the Louvre from February 13 to mid-June.
Read the full story here: https://news.tvs-24.com/entertainment/art/67829.html