February 6, 2015

Mechanical Treasures (III)

        I’ve posted previous collections of marvelous steampunkish animal sculptures (here and here), and today I have the work of two more artists to show you.  I just couldn’t limit myself to one piece from each of them to make them fit into the previous post.  Indeed, I couldn’t even quite manage to limit myself to only three each.
        At first glance Edouard Martinet’s animals look as if they’re sculpted the traditional way, from clay cast in metal.  But look closely and you realize that they’re assemblages of all sorts of bits and pieces.  Martinet is so masterful at picking the perfect piece of junk to make each element of his subject’s form that I’m in awe.  See if you can find these parts in the sculptures shown: spatulas, brass musical instrument, bicycle bodies, and hacksaws.  The ribs of the fish are nested spoons!  Martinet uses screws to hold all the pieces together, so they really are beautifully constructed as well as beautifully designed.  I’m utterly in love with these animals!



        Andrew Chase’s animals are pretty cool, too, and pretty large.  But what makes them especially interesting is that they are fully articulated and moveable.  I’m not entirely clear whether they’re motorized and move on their own, or whether they can simply be posed by hand, but either way they’re amazing.  I’m guessing that this video of 
his cheetah sculpture is stop-motion, because I just don’t see how it would be possible for it to run like that on its own!  You can see in these pictures of his giraffe how elegantly the joints allow movement and the cable supports it.  The elephant can pick up a large metal pipe with its tusks and trunk, and in the picture above is shown just getting hold of the pipe.  And finally, two words: robot dinosaur.  Oh yeah!

        As with all steampunk sculpture, part of the fun is the reusing of pieces that might otherwise be discarded, and part of the fun is applying technology all over the place in fantastical ways.  Part of the fun is the craftsmanship that aims for beauty as well as functionality, and part of the fun is the surprise of seeing something unexpected.  That’s a lot of parts of fun, isn’t it?



[Pictures: Birds, sculptures by Edouard Martinet, c. 2011;
Fish, sculpture by Martinet;
Katydid, sculpture by Martinet, c. 2010 (These images and many many more from Edouard Martinet’s web site, Daily Cool, and Colossal);
Elephant, sculpture by Andrew Chase,
Cheetah, sculpture by Chase,
Giraffe, sculpture by Chase,
T. Rex, sculpture by Chase, (These images and more from Chase Studio and NDI Gallery).]

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