In a historic first for a Royal Academician, British sculptor Bill Woodrow has ventured into the realm of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) with his digital piece ‘SPITNUK’. Currently on display at the prestigious Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, ‘SPITNUK’ is an infinite loop movie that marries traditional sculpture with cutting-edge technology.

Collaborating with Irrefutable and Esper, respectively known for their expertise in NFT concepts and 3D scanning, Woodrow revisits the motif of the Russian nesting doll, a subject he previously explored in sculptures made in 2008 and 2022. The digital artwork features a deconstructed and reassembled nesting doll, with the face bearing a classic image of Joseph Stalin, symbolizing Russian terror.

The figure is depicted tumbling through space with blood on its hands. As Woodrow said of ‘SPITNUK,’ “How to depict and use infinity to make a comment about the current world situation was the question I tried to answer with this work.”

As Joe Johnson, Founder of Irrefutable, told JCC, “When conceiving of Irrefutable, the first group of artists that jumped to mind were those of the famous New British Sculpture group.”

Added Johnson, “Bill was actually the first artist we contacted. Honestly, we didn’t expect a reply. But Bill got to grips with the possibilities of the technology very quickly indeed. We decided on this concept together, but Bill has a shortlist of brilliant ideas for digital art sculptures.”

Esper, known for building world-class 3D scanning and photogrammetry rigs, played a crucial role in bringing ‘SPITNUK’ to life. The team at Esper embraced the challenge of scanning Woodrow’s original sculpture and placing it in an infinite space scene. The scanning process was highly intricate, requiring the use of Esper’s scanning rig to capture high-contrast sticker dots applied to the sculpture to enhance the accuracy and repeatability of 3D data.

‘SPITNUK’ represents a groundbreaking fusion of traditional art forms with digital innovation, and as the first NFT created by a Royal Academician, it marks a significant moment in the evolution of contemporary art.


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