As so often happens, when 3D designers and 3D printing collide, the story is a combination of utilitarian concept and works of art. These are generally items being made for use, but the people behind them show expansive creativity and define art talent in a multitude in ways. Add all of these things up with the game of chess, and it gets interesting very fast, as chess has mathematics, strategy, mystery, and a magic all of its own.
The 3D printed ‘Surreal Chess Set’ definitely sets the bar high for the wow factor — and there’s no doubt it’s a work of art. The creator, Johan Andersson, has no problem saying so either. He’s well aware that he’s created something that causes people to take pause, doing a double take to check out his work, just imagining getting their hands on those chess pieces — or better yet, having an entire set of their own.
While the fractal world waits patiently, Andersson is releasing the set piece by piece, with the following pieces available on Shapeways right now:
Part of the reason these pieces look so impressive is that Johann has been working on them for years, and also has a 3D printed board which is in the works. The chess concept came about when he began studying “the cosmos of 3D fractals” five years ago. With inspiration from Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and Dalí, he set out to meticulously put his own signature on a surrealistic chess set he felt was most authentic. Combining 3D fractals with 3D printing, Andersson was indeed able to create something completely new.
Fractals are repeating patterns that appear on different scales. While traditionally used by artists and mathematicians in 2D, by adding a third dimension to the phenomena, new details and complexities are added to the structures and the visual outcome. They are known as irregular visual structures and in terms of mathematics are considered to be somewhat imprecise, offering connection to many different ideas — offering the perfect medium for an artist who can mold the fractal to fit a variety of works in different forms. Jackson Pollock and M.C. Escher were fond of using fractals in their work as well.
With its formal name being the “Tycho Brahes Cosmological Cranium,” Johan Andersson presents the work as not just a chess set, but a story. Having worked on this creation for such a long time, he considers it to be an intricately woven play encompassing “seven acts about humanity, the evolution and the quest for knowledge through enlightenment and superfluity, until the day when mankind finally became the plague of the planet.” Who could resist learning more about this?
Each of the pieces 3D printed by Shapeways is an artwork unto itself, with its own identity as a character bearing a fully unique story. While they are functioning chess pieces, they are meant to bear only a “surreal resemblance” to what most of us are used to.
In true artist form, he has released two different versions of the set with one for each side of the King and Queen. The Bishop II also features, according to Andersson, “a hidden pure 3D mandelbox fractal on a cosmographic suspension device.” Also, with a very cool touch, Andersson added his signature under the bottom plate of each chess piece.
Are you a fan of chess, and if so, if this a set you are interested in collecting? Have you 3D printed any game pieces of your own? Tell us about it the 3D Printed Surreal Chess Set forum over at 3DPB.com.