Artist Compresses Classical Sculptures Into Small Marble Cubes

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

Artist Adam Parker Smith runs classical sculpture through a trash compactor in his new series of works titled Crush. The six sculptures take well-known classical forms and squish them into one cubic meter. The result is a bizarre collection that is, for lovers of Western art, recognizable but still something totally new.

The sculptures continue Smith's investigation into the legitimacy of classical forms and touch upon his experiences with classical art while living in Rome. Bernini's David, the Apollo Belvedere, and the Augustus of Prima Porta are some well-known sculptures that Smith has compressed.

To create the series, Smith worked with a team of master carvers, a seven-axis reductive robot, and the digital research teams at museums like the Uffizi. In doing so, he was able to render these masterpieces of Hellenistic and Baroque sculpture in a 3D modeling program. Each digital form was compressed into a cube and then lovingly chiseled out in Carrara marble—the material of many great classical sculptures.

The sculptures are fascinating as they sit on their pedestals. As now-tiny forms, each sculpture gives something new when viewed from different angles. Augustus, so tall and imposing in the original sculpture, looks as if he's about to take a nap. In Smith's work, he's giving off a completely different message as he cradles his own body, head resting upon the folds of his tunic.

This is true across the board. Squeezed into cubes, these classical pieces elicit a different response. No longer towering masterpieces that spark adoration, Smith has brought them down to our level where we can appreciate them in a whole new way. Smith's work, which was recently on display at The Hole LA, is a beautiful marriage between traditional sculpture and contemporary sensibilities.

For Crush, artist Adam Parker Smith compressed six well-known classical sculptures into cubes.

Augustus of Prima Porta by Adam Parker Smith

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

Trash Compacted Marble Sculptures by Adam Parker Smith

In doing so, he asks viewers to concentrate on their forms and features rather than their imposing size.

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

Detail of Venus and Amor by Adam Parker Smith

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

Smith rendered each original sculpture in 3D and condensed it into a cube.

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

Marble Sculpture by Adam Parker Smith

David by Adam Parker Smith

Crush by Adam Parker Smith

The compressed figures were then sculpted in Carrara marble.

Apollo of Belvedere by Adam Parker Smith

Detail of Marble Sculpture by Adam Parker Smith

Detail of Cupid Triumphant by Adam Parker Smith

Adam Parker Smith: Website | Instagram 

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by The Hole LA.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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