Adam Lowe (arts innovator)

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Adam Lowe (arts innovator)
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Born1959 (age 61–62)
Oxford, England
Alma mater
  • Ruskin School of Art
  • Royal College of Art
OrganizationFactum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation

Adam Lowe (Oxford, 1959) is an artist, director of Factum Arte, and founder of the non-profit Factum Foundation for Digital Technology in Conservation. Working largely through these organisations, he has made substantial innovations in the fields of the arts and digital technology.[1][2][3]

Lowe was trained at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art in Oxford and the Royal College of Art in London. He worked as an artist throughout the 1980s and 1990s. In 2000, he worked with Simon Schaffer to curate N01se, an exhibition held at Kettle’s Yard and four other museums in Cambridge, as well as the Wellcome Institute in London.[4][5]

In 2001 Lowe founded Factum Arte with Manuel Franquelo and Fernando Garcia-Guereta, although he soon became sole director of the company.[1] First through Factum Arte and from 2009 through Factum Foundation, Lowe has worked on numerous projects involving the high-resolution digital recording of artworks and the production of facsimiles (high resolution physical copies) from this data. He also curates exhibitions, lectures widely, and writes about the use of digital technologies in cultural heritage preservation.[6]

Cultural heritage innovations

In collaboration with others, Lowe has designed new scanning systems for recording cultural heritage sites and objects, and has used them to record artworks and cultural heritage sites across the world.[7] From these recordings he has created facsimiles of numerous sites and artefacts. These include the Tomb of Tutankhamun[8] and the Tomb of Seti I,[9] Veronese’s Wedding at Cana,[10] and two monumental lamassu from Nimrud (now in the British Museum).[11] These have been shown at high-profile institutions including the National Gallery of Art in Washington,[12] the National Gallery in London,[13] the Cini Foundation in Venice,[14] the Antikenmuseum Basel[15] and the Rijksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden.[16]

Lowe has also conducted several projects which have used digital technology to push beyond the boundaries of the original art object. He has created 3D interpretations of objects designed (but never made in 3D) by Piranesi,[17] and has re-created lost artworks including Caravaggio’s Nativity with Saint Francis and Saint Lawrence and the 12th century silver world-map by al-Idrisi.[18][19] In the case of Raphael’s Lo Spasimo, he used digital processing and outputting technologies to explore a possible alternative history for a painting: where the original had been transferred from wooden boards to canvas in the early 19th century, a common practice of restorers at the time, Factum’s recreation re-imagined Lo Spasimo as a work on board.[20]

Lowe is a pioneer of digital restoration (the restoration of objects in virtual space only, with no interventions to the physical object).[21] Factum Foundation has digitally restored artworks including frescoed surfaces, a tapestry, a fragmented statue (whose parts were reassembled into their original composition) and a vandalised cave which was restored based on existing photographs.[22][23] Several of these digitally restored objects have been re-created as facsimiles.

Lowe has curated and co-curated several exhibitions, including The Arts of Piranesi (shown at various locations, 2010-13),[17] Scanning Seti: The Regeneration of a Pharaonic Tomb (Antikenmuseum Basel, 2017-18),[24] Madame de Pompadour in the Frame (Waddesdon Manor, 2019-20),[25] and The Revealed Masterpiece (Palazzo Fava, Bologna, 2020).[26]

Awards and positions

In 2009, Lowe received the Prix Microsoft pour les Humanités Scientifiques.[27] In 2014, Factum Foundation received the inaugural Apollo award for Digital Innovation of the Year.[28] Since 2016, Lowe has been an Adjunct Professor on the Historic Preservation masters program at GSAPP, Columbia University.[29] In 2019, he was made a Royal Designer for Industry, with the title Designer of Art.[30]

Work for contemporary artists

Lowe’s company Factum Arte has made work for many contemporary artists, including Marina Abramovič, El Anatsui, Anish Kapoor, Rachid Koraïchi, Maya Lin, Cornelia Parker, Grayson Perry, Marc Quinn, Boris Savelev, and Sarah Sze.

In the media


  1. 1.0 1.1 Tarmy, James (29 March 2018). "Step Inside the Factory Where Superstars Make Their Art". Bloomberg. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  2. "The Apollo podcast: Adam Lowe". Apollo Magazine. 4 May 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  3. Zalewski, Daniel (21 November 2016). "The factory of fakes: How a workshop uses digital technology to craft perfect copies of imperilled art". The New Yorker. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  4. "n01se: a series of exhibitions exploring the digital". University of Cambridge. 21 January 2000. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  5. Ferry, Georgina (28 February 2000). "Science for art's sake". Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  6. Sattin, Anthony (9 November 2015). "Meet the master of reproduction". Christie's. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  7. "Technology". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  8. Gee, Alison (8 November 2014). "Which would you rather visit - a fake tomb or a real one?". BBC News. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  9. Glass, Nick (15 November 2017). "Master replicators resurrect an ancient Egyptian tomb in Switzerland". CNN. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  10. Povoledo, Elisabetta (29 September 2007). "A Painting Comes Home (or at Least a Facsimile)". New York Times. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  11. Guy, Jack (28 October 2019). "Mosul takes delivery of recreated icons". CNN. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  12. Rose, Mark (1 July 2002). "Egyptian Immortality in Washington". Archaeology. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  13. McEwan, Olivia (17 April 2017). "How Michelangelo and Sebastiano's Roman Chapel Was Recreated in London". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  14. "Mindful Hands. Masterpieces of Illumination from the Fondazione Giorgio Cini". Arte Por Excelencias. 12 September 2016. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  15. "'Scanning Seti: The Regeneration of a Pharaonic Tomb' at the Antikenmuseum Basel, Switzerland". 17 February 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  16. "Kolossen geïnstalleerd". Rijksmuseum van Oudheden. 10 October 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "The Arts of Piranesi: architect, engraver, antiquarian, vedutista, designer. The exhibition". Factum Arte. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  18. "Re-creating the lost silver map of al-Idrisi". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  19. "Mystery of the Lost Paintings". Sky TV - 7 part series about Factum Arte's recreations of lost paintings. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  20. "Raphael's Christ Falls on the Route to Calvary, 'Lo Spasimo'". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  21. Lowe, Adam (5 December 2018). "Computer-assisted restoration". The Encyclopedia of Archaeological Sciences. pp. 1–6. doi:10.1002/9781119188230.saseas0110. ISBN 9780470674611.
  22. "Digital conservation and restoration". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  23. "The sacred cave of Kamukuwaká". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  24. "Scanning Seti: the Regeneration of a Pharaonic Tomb". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  25. "Madame de Pompdaour in the Frame: an exhibition at Waddesdon Manor". Factum Foundation. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  26. "The Revealed Masterpiece" (PDF). 29 October 2019. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  27. "Remise du Prix Microsoft pour les Humanités Scientifiques à Adam Lowe". Sciences Po blog. 19 November 2009. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  28. "Digital Innovation of the Year: The Apollo Awards 2014". 3 December 2014. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  29. "Faculty page for Adam Lowe". Columbia University, GSAPP. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  30. Long, Molly (28 November 2019). "Royal Designers for Industry award recipients unveiled for 2019". Design Week. Retrieved 16 April 2020.

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