Interview: Elektra Limniou
Robots go into our homes and enlighten them. A different form of art ends up being fully functional for both us, humans, and for the environment. The last twenty years, +Brauer, an artist who lives in Paris in 2017, has undertaken to help our planet through his art and his imagination. Metal pieces, waste, and other abandoned parts of industrial materials revive by his hands with a contemporary design.
Viva la Robolución!”
Industrial materials coming from the past are reborn by you. You transform them into useful stuff for our ordinary lives. How did you conceive this creative idea?
Several years ago, while browsing in a family car-repair garage, I came across a stock of spare “unusables”. The nobility of these materials made me want to “save them from landfill.” Their shape and patina immediately aroused images of light sculptures in my mind.
What are the necessary elements you need to prepare an object like this? Is it a time consuming procedure from the time you find the materials till you promote them to public?
I create light robots out of recycled industrial materials. Working with recycled materials means that I must create out of existing pieces. Having in my studio a large stock of material allows me to put no strap to my imagination. I’ve been gathering this stock for many years now through secondhand trade, collecting abandoned objects in the streets, scrap-iron merchants… I also have a good network of artisans who know my work and bring me from time to time different objects they have gathered here and there.
Each sculpture takes a long time : classify materials, reference them, strip the individual parts. Then comes the electrical part, it is a complex part of the work that requires precise attention.
Making robots and lighting objects by these materials, we could say that it is a matter of sensitivity to the environment. Was it one of your purposes? What is your aspect on this field?
I’ve always felt concerned with ecology and our planet’s wealth. My artistic work, naturally reflects it. I began using discarded pieces of metal, industrials parts. I have collected, sorted, cleaned, prepared and assemble them in order to upcycle them into unique and poetic works. This is my means of expression, using my graphic codes, my desire to show that discarded objects can end up in galleries and touch art lovers. My contribution to recycling is little compared to what should be done by all to try and save our planet, but each little action matters.
To me, waste is a wound to our planet, but also an inexhaustible source for imagination. The main challenge is to assemble materials that are not meant to be put together. Each part reveals its own constraints. Associating a lighting scenery to it makes the task even more complicated. I must go through many tests before implementing the electrical part that completes the sculpture.
Sometimes, the idea of a new sculpture pops into my head at the sight of a specific object. I then have to find the other parts that can be assembled to this one to create the robot I have imagined.
One idea behind recycling is awareness. Our modern world produces tons of waste that is little or not reused at all. My approach goes against the trend by diverting used objects from their primary function, in order to invent a new life for them. When children look at my sculptures with amazed eyes, they love to hear how it was built and the topic of recycling comes naturally. A few years back, I created ZEBULON for that matter. It is made out of diverse plastic objects from everyday life, an “educational robot” in a way.