Sleeping Figure

Oliver Laric

Sleeping Figure, 2022

In the 18th century, British art collector Henry Blundell altered a Roman copy of a Hellenistic Hermaphroditus (child of Hermes and Aphrodite). Blundell exclaimed that “… by means of a little castration and cutting away the little brats, it became a sleeping Venus and as pleasing a figure as any in this collection.” A drawing in the Townley Collection (British Museum) shows the figure before Blundell’s drastic modifications. Blundell’s removal of the Infants and the male genitals required some re-carving under the right armpit, where new drapery is introduced. It is possible that some other restorations may have occurred before Blundell’s purchase, as is denoted by jagged lines that join the arms and left leg. In 2021, Laric approached the National Museum Liverpool, which thankfully allowed him to make a 3D scan. He has worked with the digital sculptor Ran Manolov who reimagined the missing elements, and Nacho Riesco, who flattened the full volume into a bas relief.

Laric’s Sleeping Figure brings back elements from the initial Roman copy of the sculpture. Based, however, on subjective interpretation, an essential part of the digital “restoration process”, it can be considered a new version of the work. Similarly to Laric’s other pieces, Sleeping Figure also rejects the notion of uniqueness and originality, pointing instead to an aesthetic of repetition inherent to the digital paradigm and, as Laric suggests, to all of art history. Simultaneously the work questions the permanence of forms, looking at how subjects evolve and transform through time. The digital file was 3D printed in SLA resin from which a silicone mold was cast. A blend of powdered marble and granite with resin was then cast from this mold. The raw scan from Liverpool and digitally restored version are accessible for download and free use via

Oliver Laric has exhibited his work at S.M.A.K. (Ghent), Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, Guggenheim (Bilbao, Spain), São Paulo Biennale, ICA Boston, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Whitechapel Gallery (London), ExtraCity Kunsthalle (Antwerp), Kunstlerhouse Benthanien (Berlin), Palais de Tokyo (Paris), Saint Louis Art Museum (St. Louis, Missouri), among others. Laric's work is part of the collection of the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN), Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (Monaco), MUMOK (Vienna), Ferdinandeum (Innsbruck, Austria), Kunsthaus Bregenz (Bregenz, Austria), The Collection Museum (Lincoln, UK), Kunstsammlung (Dusseldorf, Germnay), Museum für Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt, Germany), Cleveland Art Museum (Cleveland, Ohio), Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, D.C.), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), Frac Bretagne (Rennes, France), among others.