Saint Sebastian Birds

Duration: 24’16”

 

 

In the same way that swallows build their nests with clay and sand, the birds in the video build a sculpture of Saint Sebastian. They use the arrows that pierce the saint as scaffolding to work their way up. The birds honour St. Sebastian, who was not allowed to live according to his faith.

When looking for the appropriate materials to allow a work of art to change form, the same questions always rise: who or what causes the manipulation? Which characteristics in the materials have the capacity to affect the form in one way or another?

In the reversed version of the video the birds are presented as skilled sculptors. In fact the artwork started as fat balls put up in the artist’s backyard. The birds, always eagerly looking for food, enthusiastically devoured them. They manipulated the sculpture, but by reversing the video they also delude the viewers, who might mislead themselves, thinking they can be as free as birds.

 

Method

The artwork Saint Sebastian Birds was largely created using 3D software and a 3D printer.

A 3D scan of the work Adonis (1808) by Bertel Thorvaldson (Thorvaldsons Museum, Kopenhagen) was a first source of inspiration. Posture and form of the 3D object were adapted, using the painting Sint-Sebastiaan (c.1614) by Peter Paul Rubens as a guideline.

The finished sculpture was 3D-printed, with a fitting mould. Then silicon was poured in the mould to get a negative form. Finally fat balls were melted and poured in the mould to reproduce the sculpture in bird seed.