The MB&F M.A.D.Gallery’s exceptional exhibit of robotic sculptures represents the very epitome of cool: virtuoso Hervé Stadelmann merges Stadelmann’s keen eye for graphic design with his professional tinsmith training.
The Eureka moment
Speaking about how the idea for the robot figures got underway, Stadelmann narrates, “One evening in November of 2014, I was in the middle of making small metal skulls using the least possible parts and I got tired of it. So I told myself that I would start a sculpture of something abstract without knowing where I was going. It was only a moment before the abstract sculpture began to look like a robot and I thought, ‘yes, good idea’.”
Stadelmann has crafted an army of 16 individually numbered robot sculptures for the M.A.D. Gallery; the appearance of each varies greatly from one to the other, and unmistakable personalities are easily discerned. Every meticulous fold of metal undergoes careful consideration of placement to highlight the patterned, colourful, or monochromatic materials in an artistic way. Concurrently, this generates unique traits for each robot.
A powerful visual impression
Although immobile, the robotic sculptures make a remarkable statement thanks to both their individual characteristics and their sizable dimensions. Standing at an average of 70 centimetres tall – slightly more than two feet – the robots quickly become the focal point of any space and are sure to provoke interesting conversations. Even though Stadelmann’s sculptures are not toys, they do appeal to the inner child in everyone, making them a perfect fit for the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery.
Best out of waste
Stadelmann creates his fleet of robot sculptures entirely by hand in his studio in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland. The metal sheets used to create the robot sculptures are often discovered on Stadelmann’s countless journeys to flea markets or may even be found discarded in the streets. He often repurposes materials from tea boxes, cookie tins, branded service trays, and traffic signs in metals ranging from copper and stainless steel to tin, aluminium, and zinc. “I almost only use repurposed materials that are of diverse thicknesses,” the studied graphic artist explains.
As a trained tinsmith Stadelmann makes use of basic tools such as pliers, shears, and hammers to create the intricate bends and fittings by hand; no electric tools or machines are used in the creation of his completely handmade sculptures. And that’s probably what makes them so special!