We came across Ravi Zupa’s work at Scope during Art Basel Miami this past December and at first glance we thought these pieces were the inner workings of a machine gun on display. After a closer examination it was clear that each gun was made of a variety of elements including typewriters and we were blown away.

Ravi Zupa is an artist known for his mastery of a surprisingly broad range of media and techniques, including drawings and paintings, screen and relief printing and sculpture. He has been making these typewriter firearms since 2005 but until recently, they were simply small elements incorporated into larger sculptures. In 2013 Ravi decided to focus the idea and execution and have them stand alone as complete works. Last year he was honored to be invited by Shepard Fairey to participate in the “Provocateurs” exhibition in Chicago. This was the unveiling of the “Mightier Than” series.

Each piece was constructed by the artist, primarily from disassembled typewriters. There are also stapler components and some scrap metal. Everything is held together with welds, bolts and rivets. The stocks and wooden handles were all shaped from salvaged oak. Each piece is hand etched by the artist with his signature, saw and hatchet symbol.

The ammunition is comprised of Speedball pen nibs and actual brass cartridges of various sizes. The pen nib points of the 223 and smaller are pressure fit into the neck of the cartridge and the nibs of the larger caliber casings are pressure fit and held into place with a section of a standard number 2 pencil. Each cartridge is laser etched with the artist’s signature, plow and scythe symbol.

In 2007 Ravi Zupa directed a music video for the song “Stupid things implode on themselves” for the group, Sole And The Skyrider Band. Early, crude versions of these sculptures were used as props in that production. Since then they have appeared in art installations in the US and Europe. Over the years they have become more and more refined.

 

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Ravi Zupa – The Mightier Than Series from NO HORIZON on Vimeo.