Nus Salomo: pioneering 3D printing & design innovation with contemporary art imagination  

7 ‘Moto Runner’ 2016 Nus Salomo, alluminum, 45 x 75 x 120. Image courtesy of Nus Salomo

Digital technology has thrust open the door for 3D contemporary artists to offer greater value to society, especially within 3D printing. Jakarta based sculptor and multi-media artist Nus Salomo is pioneering design innovations into new and exciting fields.

Salomo first gained mainstream national attention in 2017 when he contributed a futuristic aviation-themed sculpture assembled with synthetic components made with 3D printing. The unique and imaginative work was installed within the arrival hall of the new Terminal 3 Ultimate at Soekarno-Hatta International airport Jakarta. However, it was later dismantled due to manipulated public opinion derived from reactions on social media over supposed Christian references in the work. Nevertheless, during 2017 his creativity and imagination led to significant design breakthroughs for the nation.

“I  began a pilot project with a pharmaceutical company, making synthetic organs for surgical training.  I was next commissioned to develop a ‘phantom’, containing non-actual body parts for the education of medical students, nurses and doctors to practice stomach surgery and procedures by hand, not digitally,” said Salomo, born 1968 in Medan, North Sumatra and whose name has become established in the Indonesian contemporary art world.

Indonesian contemporary sculptor and multi-media artist Nus Salomo is pioneering 3D printing design innovation. Image courtesy Nus Salomo.

“One of the challenges was to create body parts true to form while inside the body, not the shape after the organs were removed from the corpse. Finding the correct material formula to reproduce the texture of the body parts was also problematic. During the pandemic, I have continued developing a set of lungs for covid specific research.”

With a background in special effects in the movie industry and making prosthetic limbs, Salomo studied Architecture at the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB) 1986-88. He then continued at the Art Center College Of Design, Pasadena, California, US 1992-95. “I got my first computer in the early 1980s, a birthday present from my father. I’ve been using one ever since,” he told the Jakarta Post.  “Using computer’s for art and design began in college in the late 80s, while 3D printers became my tools beginning in 2017. Mixing traditional and digital media became his forte, fuelled by his passion for anatomy and machinery that led him to ‘hybrid’ concepts in his art making.

‘Bull Damkar’ 2019 Digital design for ‘Fire Moto’ prototype fire engine project. Image courtesy Nus Salomo

‘Fire Moto Project’ was Salomo’s contribution to ‘Bintaro Design District’ in 2019, themed ‘Inclusivity’. He designed a fire engine unit using motorcycle components with an electric motor. A large frame held a dozen water galons and a small pump, the vehicle manoeuvrable within the narrow roads of the densely populated urban kampungs. A third party showed interest in making a fully functional mock-up until the beginning of the pandemic.

Salomo’s ongoing exhibition project with the Indonesian National Gallery in Jakarta, ‘Poros: Pameran Koleksi Nasional #3’ opened 12 August, 2021. It seeks to maintain and develop non-physical cultural heritage, artistic ideas and inspiration compiled into a database created by sculptors in the sphere of Indonesian public art. The collection of such information is a part of the responsibility of the National Gallery that is exhibiting miniature replicas of the public artworks made from synthetic fibres derived from corn husks.

Studio scenes with 3D printers and sculpture pieces. Image courtesy Nus Salomo.

“The development and the increasing value of sophisticated digital technology used in collaborations between museums, institutions, sculptors, photographers, and designers of multimedia works will be increasingly important and is an urgent need,” writes GalNas curator Rizki Zaelani in the exhibition essay. Salomo contributes reproductions of the iconic work ‘Ibu Tani’. Including the process of re-designing through photographic data used to form ideas and accurately express the 120cm miniature using eight 3D printers simultaneously.

“Working in the movie industry helped shape perspectives and narratives in creating from fibreglass, wood, aluminium, stainless steel and carbon fibres, along with painting. Most of my painting is within a widescreen format, from the camera point of view and structured like a scene from a movie,” Salomo explained.

Fire Moto Presentation Page Four 2019 – Nus Salomo. Image courtesy Nus Salomo

“Creating prosthetic limbs, masks, characters and creature designs laid the foundation for my contemporary sculptures. The materials and techniques of creating the prosthetics also shape my artistic tendencies. Movement is the main ingredient within my sculptures. The narratives behind a sculpture are as important as the sculpture itself. They are all an essential part of the storytelling,” said Salomo. “Movies, science fiction and design are constantly feeding my creativity.”

There are growing opportunities for the art industry to merge with medicine, science, education and entertainment. Institutions and businesses are increasingly devising collaborative projects with artists. Bridging artistic imagination with design ideas naturally leads to innovation. Artists creativity is essential to a healthy and inclusive society.

Exhibition view, sculptures and painting by Nus Salomo. Image courtesy Nus Salomo.

“The constant process of seeing things from different perspectives makes artists unique. In our complex world, commerce and design need to solve complex problems. To stay ahead of the curve, new perspectives and thinking are continually required. Society needs the avant-garde,” Salomo said. “Being able to imagine a world that doesn’t exist, creating for current requirements or future needs is truly rewarding. Creativity is a spiritual process.”

“We are born with a purpose, complete and equipped with everything we need to reach our maximum potential,” Salomo states. “Our part is to discover, expand and develop it so our purpose may contribute to a better society. But, beyond the veil of the pandemic, the universe is asking us to slow down, regroup, and re-envision the future for the benefit of everyone and everything.”

Digital data required in the process of recreating the 3D printed miniatures of ‘Ibu Tani’ by Nus Salomo.

‘Mono Moto’ Nus Salomo – 55x90x80cm- Fibreglass. Image courtesy of Nus Salomo

Images Courtesy of Nus Salomo

Words: Richard Horstman

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