Untitled (Branch), 2014

Bronze, branch length approx. 1000 cm, base plate 250 × 150 × 10 cm

Zeng Fanzhi’s nearly ten-meter-tall bronze branch is an extremely complex work both structurally and aesthetically, since it rises from a base plate at a 45° angle without any further support and catches the eye as a result of its dark patina.

The artist made a small-format model, which was scanned in China and scaled up at the Kunstgiesserei St.Gallen. Here, an optimal partition was calculated and the individual parts printed in PMMA for a three-dimensional model in the original size. The model was afterward burnt out directly in fireclay in fourteen individual pieces. The branched inner structure developed in advance was already cast along with the pieces. Finally, the segments were assembled so that the branch grows into the heights in an organic-seeming manner. The anchoring in the base plate along with the inner structure bears the enormous structural load of the sculpture rising up at an angle. The patina was supposed to give the impression of an aged surface. As a result of the dark surface, the sculpture gains in plasticity, while shiny spots create an impression of the artificially weathered surface having been frequently touched.