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Unveiling the Soul: Alastair Gibson’s Captivating Carbon Fibre Heart Creations

The human heart, a marvel of intricate chambers, vessels, and valves, holds a complexity far beyond the familiar symmetrical symbol we associate with it. Alastair Gibson, a carbon fibre artist, delves into this complexity with his series of sculptures titled “Engineered Emotion,” challenging the sanitised iconography and exploring the multi-dimensionality of our emotions.

Gibson’s meticulous study of the human heart is manifested through the painstaking layering of carbon fibre sheets. The carbon fibre, a malleable material that undergoes high-pressure curing and heating, creates a taut finish for the left and right ventricles, mimicking the tissues and membranes that comprise the formidable heart wall. The atriums, arteries, and veins, on the other hand, are constructed using ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), renowned for its impact resistance and toughness. Drawing upon his engineering expertise gained as a chief mechanic in the adrenaline-fueled world of Formula One, Gibson’s anatomically accurate Engineered Emotion sculptures showcase an impressive composition and attention to detail. They combine a deep understanding of physiology with an exploration of the intricate relationship between the heart and mind—the triggers of our emotions and how we perceive and identify them.

Although emotions originate in the brain, they often manifest, palpably, in the heart and are expressed through its language.

Gibson’s Engineered Emotion collection comprises five limited-edition iterations—Heart Of Passion, Brave Heart, Heart Of Gold, Pure Heart, and Sweet Heart—each represented by distinct colours like red, purple, gold, white, and pink. The intention behind these sculptures is self-evident, evoking specific sentiments without the need for much explanation. A tinted UV-resistant coating on the ventricles adds a luminous quality to each piece. Additionally, Gibson offers a personalised version of his desk-mounted sculptures, acknowledging that each individual’s emotional landscape possesses a unique topography. The heart’s elaborate yet purposeful structure, with blood propelled through a circulatory circuit, bears evocative echoes of the racetracks where Gibson spent over two decades. Adorned with titanium fuel and hydraulic fittings from modern Grand Prix race cars, his sculptures allow for a comprehensive and contemplative examination of an organ we cannot see but can profoundly sense. Gibson opens a window into the self that is rarely granted to us.

“A human heart is the epitome of a pump,” affirms Gibson. “When compared to any other engineering pump, whether it’s an oil pump in a Grand Prix engine or a hydraulic pump on an aircraft—both constructed to the highest standards—there is no comparison in terms of sophistication or design. If you take care of your pump, it will serve you for a lifetime. This includes being mindful of the entire spectrum of human experiences, not just our physical well-being.”

While limited to only 16 sculptures for each artwork in the series, Gibson’s life-size Engineered Emotion hearts—Heart Of Passion, Brave Heart, and Heart Of Gold—will be scaled up and integrated into his most ambitious project to date. This project marks his latest exploration of solid carbon fibre as a medium. It follows the path set by his captivating pieces such as “God Save The African Queen,” a majestic portrayal of a human skull, and “Carbon King,” an awe-inspiring depiction of a lion’s head in all its potent glory.

The striking red, purple, and gold hearts will take center stage in Gibson’s forthcoming work, set to be unveiled in 2023. This project promises to captivate viewers with its potential for performance and provocation. The specially crafted hearts will intentionally contrast with the visual presentation of the material and Gibson’s innovative approach to working with it, capturing the familiar woven texture while offering an alternative and groundbreaking perspective.

ArtÓ gallery takes great pride in representing Alastair Gibson as he continues to mesmerise the art world with his thought-provoking sculptures. “By choosing to work with carbon fibre, Gibson combines meticulous craftsmanship with a cutting-edge artistic vision,” says ArtÓ Founder Antony Finn. “He invites us to contemplate our position in the modern world and the impact of AI and technology alongside our creative vision and personal experiences. Through his carbon fibre hearts, Alastair Gibson directly comments on this juxtaposition.”

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