The Ereis process
Usually, the realization of my sculptures is a lengthy process, in which I create a mold in several steps that can be melted away after pouring plaster, so that a sculpture is left that is filled with rooms, corridors, doors, windows and sometimes stairs. I use system 7 as an example, but in general this process is the same way with all other Ereis systems.
I always start a new system with a design in the computer. It is important to know beforehand how the different rooms will later connect to each other, and how the whole will fit into a larger outer mold.
For every different interior space I make a negative shape in plexiglass. These forms will be filled with air in the final artwork.
The first mold
With the plexiglass shapes I make the first mold. The numbers of the different shapes are proportional to the numbers required for the final sculpture.
The second mold
With the negative plexiglass mold I make a positive silicone mold. The spaces in this mold are filled with air, just like in the final sculpture. This mold is heat resistant and flexible. If necessary I can make several silicone molds from the same plexiglass mold.
I pour hot liquid paraffin into the silicone mold, which solidifies after cooling. This is a repeating process, because for larger sculptures I sometimes need more than a thousand paraffin molds. I use paraffin, and not just candle wax, because ordinary candle wax contains stearin, which is often made from animal fat.
The final mold
The paraffin shapes are stacked in a larger outer mold in the correct order. In the case of system 7, this is a thick PVC tube, but with the other systems it is a wooden box that is custom-made for each sculpture. When the mold is completely finished, I pour in plaster, which flows between the paraffin molds.
When the plaster is hard, I put the sculpture in a furnace specially made for this process, in which I slowly melt the paraffin and collect it in a drip tray. During melting, the paraffin absorbs heat from the gypsum, and thus the sculpture is cooled. Because of this, it often takes a few days before the paraffin has melted away completely.
After melting, I correct the sculpture manually. Not all imperfections contribute to the feeling I want to convey with the sculptures, and I have to add some imperfections myself. This is the most difficult psychological step. Sometimes it takes more than a year before a sculpture is at this stage, and then it is very scary to, ever so gently, hit it with a hammer.
Although this seems to be a comprehensive explanation, I have skipped many steps. Do not hesitate to ask for advice if you want to try something with this technique yourself. Especially if you want to prevent your studio from burning down.
Below you can see all the Ereis sculptures that have been made so far (and which pages have been translated into English)