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.