Self-taught sculptor Martin Davenhall created a spectacular, life-size polar bear sculpture made from thousands of hand-cut shards of stone. The one-of-a-kind piece depicts the animal ferociously bursting through an antique table and mirror, symbolizing the clash between the natural world and man’s need for consumerism. “I wanted to merge sculpture with bespoke furniture to symbolize man’s persistence in destroying the planet out of a need to live in luxury,” Davenhall tells My Modern Met. “The idea that the bear would hold the mirror up was inspired by the lyrics in Michael Jackson’s song Man in the Mirror.”
Taking over 8,000 hours to complete, the impressive structure was made by cutting each individual shape from raw granite. Davenhall then polished each piece by hand, before positioning each individual stone fragment over a carbon fiber inner shell. The cleverly engineered frame for the bear’s legs acts as a support for the heavy, 270mm-thick granite table. The antique, Victorian mirror is made from hand-carved oak, beautifully restored with a matte black lacquer and decorated with gold leaf.
“I believe that having no formal training has made me be inventive and innovative,” Davenhall reveals. “Even though it was ten years in its construction it never really occurred to me to start with a smaller piece. I didn’t even make a small model and scale up. I could just see the finished piece in my mind. It was important to me to take the risk in building something extraordinary, which has not been done before.”
You can see more of Davenhall’s work on Instagram.