From Ancient Greece to the Renaissance, marble has been the material of masterpieces for centuries. And while we usually associate this stone with idealistic representations of gods and goddesses, French artist Léo Caillard has found a way to carry the legacy of this age-old medium into the digital age. His series, Wave Stone, features an array of classical-inspired busts that appear to “malfunction” right before the viewer's eyes.
Each of these exquisitely carved pieces features parts that are traditionally rendered, with realistic facial features and textured hair, as well as a dramatic surge that disrupts the rest of the sculpture. “My art talks about the connections between the past, present, and the future,” Caillard explains to My Modern Met. “Marble is a timeless, beautiful natural material that is unique by itself. It seemed important to work in this classical material since my work is inspired by Greek and Roman art. The distortion represents virtuality. We live in a digital world where our screens display images that are only a digital wavelength.”
Although the artist could have applied this fascinating effect to any number of marble sculptures, in choosing a classical influence, he emphasizes this union of ancient art and the way most people consume art now—through the screen. “This series of sculptures try to connect the ‘reality' of the past—represented by the stone material and the figurative face—with the ‘virtuality' of our contemporary society—represented by the abstraction of the wave distortion,” Caillard says. “It's also a unique way of carving marble as I do have to use modern techniques to achieve such distortions.” Additionally, while busts of this kind tend to have a static quality, the wave effects make these pieces appear active, as though they could change again at any moment despite the solidity of the marble material.