Super String (Sculpture) by Massimo Mercurio
2017 - 2018, Golden A' Arts, Crafts and Ready-Made Design Award Winner
The Superstring is an art work conceived by Massimo Mercurio that belongs to a series of sculptures dedicated to some of the most exciting branches of Science, which have been an area of interest for the artist. Since the early years of his education, Massimo has been fascinated by the relationship between Mathematics and its geometrical representation – a fascination that was pushed even further into Complex Mathematics and Theoretical Physics. These early scientific enquiries led to fruitful creative veins when he looked at the intriguing rendition of some of the most advance theories in Art. The Superstring is a three-dimensional illustration of one of the great achievements of mankind in the field of Physics and the effort that many brilliant minds have put forward in the attempt of better understanding our universe. The Supersymmetric String Theory, known in short as "Superstring Theory", is an ongoing attempt at creating a universal and comprehensive theory of the physical mechanism of the universe that merges Relativity with Quantum Mechanics. The Theory, in very simple words, imagines the universe’s building blocks at microscopic levels made of tiny strings vibrating in different ways and modes across multiple dimensions.
The making of the sculpture followed a rather unusual process. Instead of being modelled with clay or plasticine and then scaled up to actual size by the metal workers, it was sketched on paper and modelled in three-dimension on the computer with a modelling software called Rhino. The 3D model was then printed with a three-dimensional printers in various sizes. These mini models were then used to make bigger models in clay and plasticine to adjust the sculpture to the most harmonious form. The last prototype was then scanned and touched up in 3D again to produce the last final prints of the art work that was then used as the base for the metal workers to assemble the real size Superstring.
Design Challenges
Massimo Mercurio did not encounter any design challenges while designing the award winning Super String Sculpture.
Production Technology
The Superstring sculpture is made of two elements forged out of 316 stainless steel sheets, 3mm in thickness, that have been bent and welded by extremely skilled metal workers, all under the supervision of Massimo. After forging and welding, the steel surface went through a long polishing process that made the sculpture shine with a beautiful mirror finish, so it looks like it is formed from with a single, continuous metal piece. The high-grade stainless steel allows the sculpture to be part of a water feature and be exposed to the weather, maintaining its shine without tarnishing or rusting, though proper maintenance and cleaning is required.
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