Richard Dupont will be the subject of a solo project at Untitled Miami 2019. Drawing from aspects of classical and archaic as well as Modernist art, Dupont’s artistic practice was pioneering in its prescient foreshadowing of the transformational impact of digital technology on 21st Century life and culture. Beginning in 2002, Dupont made use of 3D body scanning to create “performance sculptures”, large scale replicas of his body, which were digitally manipulated using CAD software to achieve spatial and perceptual illusions. A focus on the then-emerging technology of biometric surveillance informed much of his early work. In a 2015 review, New York Times critic Martha Schwendener wrote, “..every era needs its representations of the human figure, and Mr. Dupont’s sculptures aptly demonstrate how scanning, surveillance and imaging technology shape our conceptions of humanity today.”
Dupont’s recent works extend his earlier concerns into a wider historical context. Biometric technologies find their roots in the systems of anthropometry and criminology developed in the late 19th Century. Badende takes as its point of reference Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s Badende of 1905. A sculptural trope utilized by a number of artists at the turn of the century, Dupont was drawn to this particular bather because of its dynamic and anti-statuesque pose. A live model was digitally scanned while posing, and this scan data was slowly altered over many months of drawing and digital manipulations. The deceptively subtle manipulations are, in actuality, extensive, and push the form towards the architectonic and abstract. Traditional lost wax casting was used to realize the virtual shape in bronze. A matte black patina emphasizes the flow of space through and around the sculpture.
Degraded Scan is the result of a series of sculptural iterations that began with Dupont sitting for a “life mask”. This sculptural replica of the artist’s head was then digitally scanned and milled out of foam. The foam head then received a coat of silicone rubber, which was subsequently peeled off to form a loose “skin”. This skin was allowed to fall onto the floor as a formless and open “container”. Expanding foam was poured into this and randomly inhabited the “skin”. After hardening, the foam was molded and cast in bronze. The sequence of these operations was not pre-conceived, and brings to mind Jasper Johns’ dictum, “Take and object. Do something to it. Do something else to it.” For Dupont, process allows for a sculpture to develop organically, and to find its own direction, often apart from an original intention.