Induction heated skull
Over the years EFD Induction solutions have been used to make everything from bras to spaceships. But even we were impressed by the creativity shown by artist Paul Fryer in his use of our technology.
Inside the head of induction: Fryer's artwork "Pit" glows cherry red after being heated by an EFD Induction system.
The UK office of EFD Induction gets its fair share of unusual requests. But this enquiry was a first: could we help artist Paul Fryer heat a ‘spherical’ piece of iron art till it glowed cherry red… and keep it that way eight hours a day for the eight weeks the piece would be exhibited? Adding pressure to the query was a tight deadline. The initial request was received at 4 o’clock on a Thursday afternoon. The object had to be glowing and mounted for display at The White Cube art gallery in London at 8 o’clock Monday morning.
Brian Durns, Technical Manager at EFD Induction in the UK, recalls the offbeat project. “Sure, how could I forget it? It didn’t sound that difficult, so we asked for the piece to be couriered from London to our workshop in Wolverhampton in the English Midlands. You can only imagine our surprise when the following morning we received a cast iron skull in a box!”
The piece posed some technical challenges for Brian and his team. “Well, the induction coil had of course to be hidden from view. But when we tried heating it from below we got significant temperature differentials. The top of the skull remained too cold. To counter this we designed and made a special split coil to generate heat in the bottom as well as the back of the skull.”
The results gained with the split coil and a Sinac power source looked promising. Pictures of the glowing skull were emailed to Fryer in London. He was satisfied. All that remained to do was entrust the equipment and the skull to an EFD Induction engineer for the journey to London. “Actually, everything went pretty smoothly,” remembers Brian. “Our engineer made sure the exhibit was safe for the general public, and come Monday morning, visitors to the gallery could enjoy the amazing spectacle of a glowing cranium.”
The skull, called ‘Pit’, has since been sold to a private collector. The only change from the piece as originally exhibited is the use of an EFD Induction Minac 6/10 as the power source. “We wanted to use a Minac all along,” says Brian, “but we didn’t have one available for the exhibition, so we loaned Paul the Sinac system. But he later bought the Minac to accompany the skull.”
- Paul Fryer is an acclaimed artist, sculptor, poet, musician, record producer, DJ and general Renaissance Man.
- A full-time visual artist since 2005, Fryer has exhibited extensively in the UK and Europe. ‘Radiations’, a book about the artist and his work, has recently been issued by Other Criteria publishers.
- To see more of Fryer’s work, much of it influenced by electricity and industry, go to: www.paulfryer.net
- The UK-based arts initiative All Visual Arts also features some of Fryer’s more recent work at: www.allvisualarts.org