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Additively manufacturing contemporary sculptural artworks with Agnès Geoffray

AddUp, FRAC Auvergne, and Agnès Geoffray used laser-fused steel powder to forge lace sculptures from 19th and 20th-century models

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As part of the Beautés exhibition, the FRAC Auvergne presented three additively manufactured sculptures by Agnès Geoffray, created using technology from AddUp. This artist residency was supported by the DRAC Auvergne-Rhône Alpes.

Jean-Charles Vergne, Director of FRAC Auvergne

“Les Armeuses were created during an artist residency entrusted to Agnès Geoffray between 2021 and 2023 at the Clermont-Ferrand-based company, AddUp. A major sponsor of the FRAC Auvergne for several years, AddUp is internationally renowned for its advanced 3D printing technology in fields as diverse as satellite parts, artificial hearts, aircraft engines, and high-end jewelry requiring unrivaled mesh finesse.

Laser-fused steel powder has patiently forged these irregular lace sculptures from 19th and 20th-century models, some of which come from the collections of the Musée Crozatier in Le Puy-en Velay. Preliminarily redesigned by jewelry designer Pascal Perun down to the finest detail, taking care to preserve the imperfections that ensure their complex beauty, they are the source of four highly delicate sculptures. Steel lace corseting the head of those who wear them, they are the seductive yet impenetrable protections of necklines, napes, and throats that no charm or yoke can embrace without the consent of the woman who wears it. The armor melts into the perfect mimicry of elegant lace.

AddUp, FRAC Auvergne, and Agnès Geoffray additively manufacturing contemporary artworks in the form of laser-fused lace sculptures.

Les Armeuses play on the ambivalence of their name: charmers and armors, they clothe the skin with an austerity that marries control with the mastery of galvanized femininity, asserting not her power but her strength and pride. Fitted metal flowers are an interlaced hem of beauty and resistance.”

Agnès Geoffray, Artist

“My artistic work questions the ambivalence of gestures and postures.

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.

AddUp, FRAC Auvergne, and Agnès Geoffray additively manufacturing contemporary artworks in the form of laser-fused lace sculptures.

As part of the Frac Auvergne residency and AddUp partnership, I wanted to create sculptures using 3D metal printing technology. The project involves stiffening lace collar motifs dating from the 19th century, combining the beauty of these structures with the harshness of these constraining frames.

The project echoes all the elements of clothing that have always constrained the body. From corsets to armor, the aim has long been to civilize 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 civilized 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.”

Frank Moreau, CEO of AddUp

“Since its creation in 2016, AddUp has been developing metal 3D printing solutions, drawing on unique know-how ranging from machine design to the production of extremely complex 3D parts. This innovative process enables new fields of application to be explored, creating high-precision objects by fusing the material used only where necessary. The aim is to produce shapes that would be impossible using traditional processes.

AddUp, FRAC Auvergne, and Agnès Geoffray additively manufacturing contemporary artworks in the form of laser-fused lace sculptures. 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.

More than a questioning of the relationship between art and technology, the project was a powerful human encounter between a renowned artist, Agnès Geoffray, a recognized designer, Pascal Perun, and the AddUp design team – in particular Maria Averyanova and Aurelien Duvauchelle, who were in charge of the project. The relationship developed throughout the project, from the design of the laces modeled with software used by Pascal Perun in the field of fine jewelry, to the printing carried out on our machines and the post-processing phase, enabled us to create exceptional sculptures requiring cutting-edge expertise. We are proud to present these works as part of the Beautés exhibition, which brings together 39 artists from the FRAC Auvergne collection. My deepest thanks go to Jean-Charles Vergne, Director of FRAC Auvergne, and his team, who initiated this magnificent adventure. Finally, my warmest thanks to Agnès Geoffray for daring to explore new forms of design. The trust she showed us enabled us to create these four fascinating sculptures, each of which will be produced in an edition of four.”

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Edward Wakefield

Edward is a freelance writer and additive manufacturing enthusiast looking to make AM more accessible and understandable.

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