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aging venus

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© 2011 by Susan Silas

aging venus

This is a short history of the genesis of the marble sculpture titled AGING VENUS, a contemporary iteration of classical sculpture using my aging body as a model. The preparation for the creation of this sculpture began with a 3D scan of my body, realized by photographing me on a small stage surrounded by cameras, and then stitching the parts together to make what is called an object file. The next step was to take that object file and sculpt the hair inside the 3D space in the manner of a classical sculpture. The inspiration for the hair was taken from Sleeping Aphrodite. After that, it was necessary to create a column to support the legs and a pedestal for the sculpture to stand on.

AGING VENUS is the culmination of an extensive body of work called the self-portrait sessions. When I began this body of work, I was concerned with privacy and explorations of intimacy. As the work evolved, I began to focus my attention more closely on the idea of reflection, literally in the mirror, and in the way that reflection functions in relationship to the image we hold in our mind of our self. Some of the images I shot in the mirror were sharper in the foreground space than in the mirror, and I began to see that second reflected self, which was less wrinkled and less flawed, as my idealized self. As the photos accumulated over what is now over a decade, and I aged in front of the mirror, I began to think about aging and youth culture and started to wonder what an idealized aging female body could mean. This aesthetic logic brought me back to classicism and Greek sculpture. AGING VENUS is feminism meets Greek classicism in the twenty-first century.

The scan for AGING VENUS has generated a set of 2D photographic studies and a set of photographic portraits, created by shooting stills within the 3D space. The object file was used to create a 3D model that stands 11” tall which will become an edition. The large scale sculpture will be cut by a high performance robotized 3D scanner that cuts stone with laser technology. The stone will be Carrara marble chosen from a quarry in Italy and the carving will be done in Italy as well. After the cutting is complete, a traditionally trained sculptor will help me finish and polish the marble. The sculpture will stand roughly 7 feet tall from head to foot.

AGING VENUS (studies)

AGING VENUS (portraits)

AGING VENUS (split peronalities)

AGING VENUS (study for a freize)

study for AGING VENUS, 2017