'a certain promiscuous relationship to originality and an endless desire, as it were, to reproduce.'
Elena Filipovic ‘Mark Leckey, UniAddDumThs'
Original or Originals (but somehow also replica, copy, edition, version, and so on…)
MOULDING AND CASTING (see cast) are sometimes described as a transfer from a non-permanent material like unfired clay to a more permanent material like plaster or concrete.
It happens on occasions that in this conversion the model, which is sometimes also called the original image or the original form or the original three-dimensional model, gets destroyed and superseded by a single duplicate of this now lost original.
At other times, however, the model is itself also a cast, for example a wax model used in the lost-wax bronze casting process is often cast itself before it is lost. If this is the case, then it is called indirect cast, or inter-model, which is also sometimes known as counter model, although it has been suggested that this implies a negative of the model, which it is not.
Sometimes, the model is also called a master copy, master or simply referred to as the work, and sometimes the material of the master is also the material used for the mould jacket (if it is a flexible mould, or multipart mould), and most likely also the material for the casting.
Sometimes the modelling material can be reused as casting material (as in the sequence clay [model] - plaster [mould] - clay, or slip clay [cast]).
At other times the model is also called prototype, which serves for the production of future moulds, which then implies that the castings made from it are multiple and numerous. Sometimes, the model is also just simply called the original, which also implies that there will be numerous others that are to come afterwards.
In some of these instances, the importance of the model as the master is transferred to a cast, which then becomes the master cast for moulding future models, which might then in turn be moulded to produce an edition of casts. In cases of limited editions, all moulds are said to be destroyed upon completion of the set number of casts to preserve the edition’s integrity (= authenticity).
In other instances, the model is an existing cast, from which a mould is taken, which is then called original cast, or sometimes replica, which one could then also call a copy or reproduction, which in some instances are authorised by an artist or an artist’s estate. In other instances, they are certainly not authorised, which renders the status of the casts precarious.
Sometimes, the model is also called the definitive pattern, and the original model is also called original plaster pattern when it is made in plaster, or clay pattern when it is made in clay, which suggests that it can be used for further mouldings. And sometimes the model has been just called a pattern, without reference to its material, in which case it is unclear if it is intended for moulding at all.
Sometimes the model is not destroyed in the moulding process, and is instead re-worked afterwards, which will allow subsequent mouldings of the altered model, which would then produce different casts which are then called versions, which leads to significant proliferation. The same applies to inter-models.
The desire to produce either a single, unique, and authentic piece, or multiple, various and numbered proliferations, often creates uncertainty: it is said that the distinction between an original (or originals in the plural when they are all authorised) and a reproduction (which is sometimes not authorised) is confusing when a number of originals are cast from the same mould: it is often difficult to foresee how many results will spring from one source and how to differentiate between source and results. It is difficult to foresee the fidelity of all the results within this extended network of originals.
The history of twentieth-century art could be re-written as a history of attempts to defeat any attachment to originality as a criterion of value – and as a history of the recuperation of such attempts into the very system they sought to oppose.