Gallery of Photography Ireland has launched its Contemporary Women’s Practice season, celebrating leading women photographers at work today, with the premiere Irish showing of work by Catherine Leutenegger (b. 1983, Switzerland), a ‘photographic archaeologist’ fascinated by shifts in technology.
Leutenegger’s long-term project New Artificiality investigates the emergence and advancement of 3D printing in a range of different, often surprising contexts. She takes us to China, where a company has built one of the world’s largest 3D printers and is now producing entire houses. The exhibition has as its centrepiece an immersive installation of monumental prints that portray these unlikely buildings. Using a trompe l’oeil technique, they seem to place the viewer inside architectural spaces that are at once strange and familiar. The prints have all been specially created by the artist in response to the Gallery of Photography’s own unique layout.
Though still an experimental process, with questions around reliability and stability, as well as its ethical implications, 3D printing continues to move forward with seemingly limitless potential. Leutenegger explores the way that this technology has been adopted by science, demonstrating how the line between real and virtual have become increasingly blurred in a post-digital world. New Artificiality presents a view on some of these cutting-edge uses, confronting the quandary of how we humans will see ourselves when even body parts can be printed with the same ease and practicality as the elements of a building.
Employing a multi-disciplinary approach that plays with media, scale and space, Leutenegger moves photography in exciting new directions. As part of the exhibition, a 3D-printed miniature of the artist herself will also be revealed to the public for the first time. Just 300 micrometres tall, it is one of the world’s smallest reproductions of a human form. Additionally, there is a selection from Leutenegger’s related series Welcome Home Baby. As with all her work, these incredibly realistic new-born simulations suggest something deeply uncanny in our evolving relationship to the objects that surround us.
Visit Catherine’s website to see more of her work.