French artist Edouard Martinet creates stunning sculptures of insects, reptiles, fishes and birds from pieces of scrap metal and rubbish collected from flea markets and car boot sales. Martinet doesn’t weld the metals together, choosing instead to use small screws, and spends about a month on each sculpture, often working on two or three pieces at the same time. Some pieces can take years; the most recent one took him seventeen years while he was searching for the one final perfect component.
Edouard Martinet became fascinated with insects at the age of ten when a teacher introduced him to these tiny creatures – a fascination that grew for the last 40 years into an obsession culminating into a craft of which Martinet is the undisputed master.
What sets Martinet's work apart is the brilliant formal clarity of his sculptures, and their extraordinary elegance of articulation. His degree of virtuosity is unique: he does not solder or weld parts. His sculptures are screwed together. This gives his forms an extra level of visual richness - but not in a way that merely conveys the dry precision of, say, a watchmaker. There is an X-Factor here, a graceful wit, a re-imagining of the obvious in which a beautifully finished object glows not with perfection, but with character, with new life. Martinet takes about a month to make a sculpture and will often work on two or three pieces at the same time. It took him just four weeks to make his first sculpture and 17 years for his most recent completion!
Martinet’s works are currently on display at an exhibition at Sladmore Contemporary in London, till January 31, 2014.
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