The Skewed, Anamorphic Sculptures and Engineered Illusions of Jonty Hurwitz / De Medicis Gallery

Some figurative sculptors carve their artworks from unforgiving stone, while others carefully morph the human form from soft blocks of clay. Artist Jonty Hurwitz begins with over a billion computer calculations before spending months considering how to materialize his warped ideas using perspex, steel, resin, or copper.

Born in Johannesburg in 1969, Hurwitz now lives and works in London where he’s somewhat of a renaissance man, focusing both on his artwork and micro-loan website Wonga which he co-founded in 2007. His anamorphic sculptures rely on scans of objects (hands, faces, frogs) that are then distorted digitally and fabricated, but when placed in front of a cylindrical mirror the projected reflection reveals the original object. Still, other works deal with pixelated or sliced human forms that are only viewable from a single perspective. A scientist at heart, Hurwitz explained to me that his artwork is his way of “expressing calculations visually,” and also allows him to experiment with cutting-edge manufacturing and fabrication technologies. Of the more mind-bending anamorphic pieces, he shares:

For the anamorphic pieces its an algorithmic thing, distorting the original sculptures in 3D space using 2πr or πr3 (cubed). Much of it is mathematical, relying on processing power. There is also a lot of hand manipulation to make it all work properly too as spacial transformation have a subtle sweet spot which can only be found by eye. Generally I will 3D scan my subject in a lab and then work the model using Mathematica or a range of 3D software tools. I think the π factor is really important in these pieces. We all know about this irrational number but the anamorphic pieces really are a distortion of a “normal” sculpture onto an imaginary sphere with its centre at the heart of the cylinder.

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