The greyhound was one of the most loved dogs by the ancient Romans, hunting dogs provided of great elegance were perfect companions to have within the walls of the villas of late antiquity. The pictorial and sculptural representations of the age of greyhounds are consequently very frequent and Oliver Laric, following his practice of recovery and reproducing classical works, offers a new life to a sculpture of the second century AD which is part of the collection of the Vatican Museums. Pair of Dogs (2021) is a sculpture that represents two dogs in the act of cleaning each other, first made digitally through a 3D reconstruction and then finds its sculptural dimension through a 3D printer with the use of SLS nylon, a multipurpose powder used in this type of process to make objects resistant to daily wear.

Oliver Laric, finding a contemporary equivalent that can emulate the same resistance of marble, recontextualizes a classic work within the contemporary art scenario: this action allows him not only to relate to the aesthetics of the past but also to bring attention to the very act of appropriation and reproduction. Pair of Dogs is a statue that by reducing the natural scale of the two greyhounds plays with the materials to manipulate the original: the SLS nylon, in fact, allows Laric to create a sculpture whose surface is entirely perforated, furthermore the particularity of this material makes it extremely light. Despite the original matrix that the ancient work and the work of the Austrian artist share, Pair of Dogsis not a simple reproduction or copy but becomes the vehicle for thinking about the very process of life and continuous transformation of images. The archive and the ancient are reworked, in some way falsified, to find a new dimension whose fidelity to the original is questioned.

Laric intentionally asks a series of questions about the truthfulness of what we look at, where do the images that are offered to us every day originate from? What has been their path through the centuries? How many layers of meaning? The artist’s work becomes an example of hybridization of forms and contents: the marble transformed into SLS Nylon, the dogs emptied of their authority now seem defenseless to the artist’s action, the ancient sculpture becomes a digital model. Pair of Dogs addresses key issues of contemporary theoretical reflection in the field of visual culture, such as the concept of reproduction, the dynamics of power between author and work, cultural heritage and reference to tradition, digital as a means of archiving but also of manipulating. Through sculpture Oliver Laric extends a discourse on the image and its changing nature, underlining its fragility on both sides, highlighting the power of authorial action.


Oliver Laric,
Pair of Dogs, 2021, SLS Nylon and acrylic paint, aluminum plinth, 53 x 30 x 51 cm
© courtesy by the artist and Galerie Johann Widauer