“The Whale Pass” is part of the Animals at Court exhibition in the Royal Gardens in Torino, Italy, which began in May 2022 with the exhibition “Animals from A to Z”. The intent is to bring the attention of the public, from the youngest to the adults, to the countless forms of life that inhabit our planet, in particular animals. An awareness of the fragility of our planet enhances two of the strategic objectives of the UN Agenda 2030 for the sustainable development of human societies in the next decade: life underwater and life on earth.
This artwork consists of three pieces of sculpture head, fin, and tail with a total weight of 880 kg.
Paolo Albertelli and Mariagrazia Abbaldo designed “The Whale Pass”, based on the idea of a passage of whales in an urban park. It is conceived as a land artwork to be placed on a grassy surface that ideally replaces the sea. It is the representation of a passage, a particular step that of the whales which impress the gaze, the proximity to man, despite being prey. When you look at them from the boat, you see only parts emerge that are a prelude to an imaginary presence that brings with it not only its real dimensions, but also a myth that crosses every human culture.
“The humpback whales we encountered in Tonga while diving were lost in the depths of the sea, their dark backs resembling a metal, burnished stainless steel or a liver-patinated bronze. Movements, sinuous twists, made one perceive the white belly streaked with black. The impression was that of the softness of a modelled marble. The work develops following a deconstructive declination”, says Paolo Albertelli, artist at Studio C&C.
“The Whale Pass”, a set of three large-scale elements of artwork, is printed in stainless steel. It is fabricated at the MX3D facility in Amsterdam (NL) with extensive experience in the WAAM for complex Art and Design industry. Both design freedom (geometry shape and size) and advanced fabrication (production flexibility and speed) were key for “The Whale Pass”. WAAM enables faster and more flexible production of large metal artworks and parts with virtually unlimited sizes with little to no pre-manufacturing setup needed.
The three parts have been printed using MX3D’s largest printing cell in portions as tall as three meters and manually welded together, shaped into one of the biggest artworks fabricated by WAAM. As an example, the whale head has an impressive height of nearly five meters. The texture achieved by MX3D’s technology resembles the texture of the skin of a real whale which added a new dimension to the project for the artists. Finally, marble was used in the sculpture to represent the whale’s stomach and ice, “as a symbol of a habitat to be respected and defended” according to the artist. The balance between the carved marble stone and printed metal alloy adds a unique element to the sculpture.
“MX3D’s robotic 3D metal printing technology provides a smart and digital production solution. It allows for higher form and size flexibility in shapes and textures, higher deposition rate, and reduction of material use and waste, making it highly relevant to achieving sustainable goals of many different industries, companies, and organizations,” says Gijs van der Velden, CEO at MX3D.
MX3D is dedicated to Robotic Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM). MX3D produces metal components on demand, prototypes, and low-volume production series, or enables you to use this technology in-house yourself. This process allows the creation of geometries with higher complexity than conventional manufacturing processes. By controlling the full WAAM workflow from CAD to print, MX3D’s technology has many benefits and allows you to go from idea to finished product in one go with MetalXL and the M1 Metal AM System.
“The installation of the whales is a project that I have always imagined in large parks because it transforms the horizon line with the imaginary depth of what cannot be seen. The backs of the whales resting on the lawn emerge from the earth. The rhythm of the puffs and of the whistles are different from each other, sudden, cross diagonally: they evoke the breath, the calm path of living semi-hidden presences. It is a space for an imaginary outside the rules of the usual paths”, says Albertelli.