Oliver Laric (b. 1981 in Innsbruck, Austria) converts qualities of the digital age, such as reproduction, limitless variability, and instant distribution, into the physical realm. His 3D scanned sculptures challenge our understanding of art and conventional modes of arts institutionalization, including the complex legal ambiguities of copyright and rights of use. His effort to make art that is traditionally locked in a museum, accessible to an increasingly digital society, regardless of social, geographical or cultural boundaries, on the one hand, challenges traditional modes of art institutionalism, while on the other, democratizes art, by stripping it of constrains to private ownership.
Based on a 3D scan of an original marble sculpture from 1867 by Emmanuel Fremiet, part of the Musée d’Orsay, collection in Paris, the work depicts a scene from Greek mythology. Half man and half goat, Pan was the god of wild groves, shepherds, and flocks. Born in Arcadia to Hermes and a Dryad, Pan was a precocious child whose goat’s feet and horned head delighted gods but startled mortals. Characterized for his solitude and love of nature, the sculpture depicts Pan playing with two bear cubs. The anthropomorphic nature of the sculpture is not coincidental but rather suggestive of Laric’s broader interest in the hybridization of (virtual) matter and life. Made from multiple 3D printed parts composed of a wide range of light and contemporary materials, such as stereo-lithography, resin, pigment or aluminum, the sculpture is characteristic of its formal diversity, resembling the heterogeneous and hybrid nature of the present digital age.