Robbert&Frank
Frank&Robbert

Artwork of the month - video (46 sec)

R&F Screws

Year 2018
Size 1.1 cm x 1.1 cm x 4 cm
Materials 3D printed stainless steel - binder jetting technology
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This month R&F F&R present a new set of two steel screws: one with an R-shaped screw head and the other with an F-shaped screw head. In order to be used, each screw requires a specific screwdriver with a corresponding, customised screw. The corresponding screwdriver thus serves as the key to unlock the use of each screw. And is thus in the unique position of being able to seal or open something using them. As such, these small screws pose an immediate and intrinsic question: who’s in control, who’s got the power?

This work is the result of a two-year search through a gamut of prototypes and new technologies. In this search F&R R&F largely adhered to the principle of DIY and autodidactically explored the wondrous world of 3D modelling, open source software and specialised production methods. In this case their quest led them to the production of these high-tech screws, 3D-printed in steel.

Is every item an artwork? Are these screws art merely by virtue of their relationship to a Robbert and a Frank? To what extent is the object itself still important? Is every individual screw unique? Or not at all? And how important is it that they are, anyway? After all, current-day open-source technology allows this artwork to be reproduced anywhere, in any amount, provided that one possesses the requisite digital design drawings and data. This creates an interesting tension between the worldwide print-on-demand possibilities on the one hand, and the uniqueness and exclusivity of the artists’ design on the other.

Throughout their oeuvre there are signs of R&F F&R’s fascination in, and search for, the significance, role and authenticity of art/the artist in a rapidly evolving and high-tech world. A world in which matters like privacy or the protection of a unique idea or technology come under great and increasing pressure from the almost unlimited possibilities of digitalisation, robotics, etc. With this in mind, the artists have for a long time played with the idea of ‘branding’, such as with their own ‘brand name’, F&R R&F. In this way they explore the significance of intellectual property and artistry today. These personalised screws very specifically and tangibly call ‘the artist’s signature’ into question. To what extent can or should an artwork (desire to) be unique and is the ‘hand of the master’ still a decisive factor in terms of the ‘value’, meaning and authenticity of an artwork?

Plenty of food for thought. Next month R&F F&R present the result of their search for the corresponding screwdrivers ...



Short interview with F&R R&F about the artwork. (Dutch language)


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