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Michael Eden: Form & Transform


Taking his inspiration from the many classic treasures in the Waddesdon Manor archives, Michael Eden's exhibition of state-of-the-art 3D printed pieces makes for a thought-provoking contrast of ideas


Michael Eden found much inspiration during his time as artist in residence (Neil Hennessy-Vass)

Michael Eden b. 1955 started out as a traditional potter making slipware between 1981 and 2007. Since then he has concentrated on digital manufacturing to create works of art. This exhibition is in collaboration with Waddesdon Manor and housed in the Coach House Gallery display space.

Michael spent some time as an artist in residence to glean inspiration for this latest show of 26 works. Rummaging through the archive drawers and storerooms in the main house, Michael discovered a plethora of reference points to draw on.

What makes this Rothschild’s backed exhibition so intriguing and compelling is largely down to the way it is displayed. Using antiques from the main collection, the 3D multi-jet fusion of bright blue, orange, black and white are placed among the older pieces. Often with their reference piece nearby, this is perfect marriage of historic and contemporary nylon.


The Icons piece is filled with well-known faces from history (Neil Hennessy-Vass)

Visitors can see referenced Nefertiti, Michelangelo’s David, Discobolus of Myron, Mona Lisa, Rodin’s Thinker and the Venus de Milo all in one object called Icons. This example of collective intellectual scouring is Michael’s mindset throughout the displays.

Michael’s work is unlike any other I have seen. The bright colours, clean lines achieved by the production method and the sheer intricacy of the pieces is staggering. Many of them could not be made in any other way.

The exhibition focuses on five rooms, each piece connecting with its attributing reference. Architectural style, different periods of design are presented as if being unwrapped after a long period of containment. Thus the display has some items not unwrapped to enhance the sense of a larger collection in the midst of being revealed.

A collection of over 200 drawings and sketches of unmade vases proved inspiring for Michael and these feature prominently. One of my favourite pieces was a large verdigris vase that looked aged by weather. It has actually been coated in a copper compound as part of the creative process. Other pieces also don metallic finishes. This is what is so refreshing about this type of work, the possibilities are endless, it’s as if someone has just discovered something as important as fine bone china or oil paints.


3D multi-jet pieces in bright blue, orange, black and white contrast well with older pieces (Neil Hennessy-Vass)

The juxtaposition of ‘pop’ colours, with the Manor’s existing collection and the subject matter of ‘what might have been’ makes this a provoking visit. There is much else to see at Waddesdon Manor so this could be part of a day out. It was fun to see Form & Transform and then wander up to the main house and try to find the references Michael had used. They start right at the main entrance where the stone carving on the quoins and pillars to the main entrance can be found as textures on some of Michael’s pieces.

Another byproduct of Michael’s work is the necessity to produce computer drawings of proposed works. Some of these have been displayed greatly magnified hanging on the walls behind the exhibits they depict. This is a considerable enhancement to the whole look of the display, seeing the detail into which Michael has gone to create these wonders. And if you love what you see, all works are for sale through Adrian Sassoon, London.

Michael Eden: Form & Transform

Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury

Until 21st October 2018

For more information CLICK HERE

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