A Swedish museum is currently showcasing “the Impossible Statue,” a sculpture created by an artificial intelligence (AI) that has been trained by a dream team of five renowned sculptors from history, such as Michelangelo, Rodin, and Takamura.
The sculpture impresses visitors with its muscular body, reminiscent of Michelangelo’s work, and a hand holding a globe, inspired by Takamura’s art.
“This is a true statue created by five different masters that would never have been able to collaborate in real life,” said Pauliina Lunde, a spokeswoman for Swedish machine engineering group Sandvik that used three AI software programmes to create the artwork.
Challenging traditional notions of creativity and artistry, a stainless steel sculpture displayed at Stockholm’s National Museum of Science and Technology portrays an androgynous figure. The lower half of the body is concealed by a draped material, while one hand holds a bronze globe. Weighing 500 kilograms and measuring 150 centimeters (4 feet 11 inches), the statue merges the distinctive styles of five renowned sculptors who left a significant impact on their respective eras: Michelangelo (Italy, 1475-1564), Auguste Rodin (France, 1840-1917), Kathe Kollwitz (Germany, 1867-1945), Kotaro Takamura (Japan, 1883-1956), and Augusta Savage (USA, 1892-1962).
“Something about it makes me feel like this is not made by human being,” Julia Olderius, in charge of concept development at the museum, told AFP.
Visitors will observe the sculpted physique reminiscent of Michelangelo, along with the globe held in the hand inspired by Takamura.
Sandvik’s engineers educated the AI by providing it with numerous images of sculptures crafted by the five artists.
Subsequently, the software generated multiple 2D images that it deemed to capture essential elements from each of the artists. “In the end we had 2D images of the sculpture in which we could see the different masters reflected. Then we put these 2D images into 3D modeling,” Olderius said.
But is it art, or technological prowess?
“I don’t think you can define what art is. It’s up to every human being to see, ‘this is art, this is not art’. And it’s up to the audience to decide,” Olderius said.
Amid debate about the role of AI in the art world, Olderius said she was optimistic.
“I don’t think you have to be afraid of what AI is doing with creativity or concepts or art and design,” she said.
“I just think you have to adapt to a new future where technology is a part of how we create concepts and art.”