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UAL Research Online

DNA Project

Sly, Allan (2006) DNA Project. [Art/Design Item]

Type of Research: Art/Design Item
Creators: Sly, Allan

Sly was commissioned by Felix Dennis in December 2003 to create this sculpture of three life-size figures in bronze with a full size replica of the DNA structure made in stainless steel as an addition to Dennis’ extensive private collection. Sly was commissioned to submit designs and maquettes for a sculpture that depicted the moment of discovery of DNA and the Genetic Code, and a composition of the three scientists who made significant contributions to this discovery: James Watson, Francis Crick and Rosalind Franklin.

The commission required the interpretation and creation of apparently authentic images of well-known people from the very limited visual documentation available, in poses that were not documented, and incorporated a re-enactment of the DNA model with the figures. Through a process of scaling-up selected visual material and interpretation from photographs, Sly modelled the figures directly in clay, using the methods he has devised to enhance the speed and precision of the casting.

Unable to take measurements from the original DNA model in the Science Museum, Sly used drawings and photographs to ascertain the structure and measurements of the model prior to testing this through card and metal patterns. This was constructed in the same way that Watson and Crick assembled theirs in 1953, although Sly found that during the process of making the model it was necessary to use stainless steel and cast bronze clamps in order to make the sculpture strong enough to withstand wind and rain. Sly closely supervised this complex process in the engineering workshops where each part of the construction was individually welded before being delivered to the foundry.

These techniques developed by Sly inform the teaching of this process at Wimbledon and informs the work of graduates, who work within the industry, including the Tussaud’s studio.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: RAE2008 UoA63
Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 16 May 2006
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2009 22:16
Last Modified: 22 Jul 2011 12:40
Item ID: 1871
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1871

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