Briefly describe the work you do.
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.
I use various techniques like sawing, cutting, welding, screwing, burnishing … but the most complex part is the electrical process. With each sculture, I use and sharpen my electrical skills. Each robot is a challenge.
Tell us about your background and how that has had an influence on your work and on you as an artist.
I graduated in arts and graphic designand have been working as a graphic designerfor over 20years. I’ve always maintained an artistic activityalongside my job, through sculptureand paintings.
To me, waste is a wound to the 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 scenary 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’ve imagined.
The concept of the artist studio has a broad range of meanings in contemporary practice. Artists may spend much of their time in the actual studio, or they may spend very little time in it. Tell us about your individual studio practice and how it differs from or is the same as traditional notions of “being in the studio.”
I spend a lot of time in my studio. The whole process of creating and assembling the sculptures takes place there.
I have a whole creating process to go through before final assembling. I select all the elements well in advance. First of all, I sketch the future robot on paper. Then I assemble the different parts I need, on my studio floor, to create the general shape I’m looking for. This allows me to refine the sculpture, adapt it to the parts that I have at my disposal, see what other parts I need to find in order to finish the sculpture. Some “sculptures in process of assembling” may remain in my workshop for months before I finally find the missing parts.
At that stage, I also work on the lighting that I want to set up. I use light in each one of my sculpture as a lighting scenary. Each type of lighting is specifically imagined for each robot. I cut openings in the metal, like small windows, add fillters… to create the lighting effect that I have in mind.
Once all the needed elements are gathered, I can start cutting the openings, assembling and welding. I use various techniques like sawing, cutting, welding, screwing… but the most complex part is the lighting scenary. Each robot is a challenge.
I like the idea that abandoned or left over industrial parts can be reborn in a new and unique piece of art.
What roles do you find yourself playing that you may not have envisioned yourself in when you first started making art?
Be part of conferences about modern art or jury member for art competitions.
When do you find is the best time to make art? Do you set aside a specific time everyday or do you have to work whenever time allows?
To me, the ideal moment for creating is during the evening or at night.
How has your work changed in the past five years? How is it the same?
My work as a sculptor has always associated rough material and light. I’ve been creating lamps from recycled materials (metal and glass) for 2 decades. About 10 years ago, I started exploring the Robot theme through my sculptures. My first robot was a simple metal case, topped by an insulator, with keys as arms. It actually was a minimalist version of a robot ! The shapes of my sculptures have evolved a lot since that time. Thanks to the complexity of assembling recycled materials together with lights, I’ve developped new techniques and experienced new methods to obtain the result I’m looking for.
How have people such as family, friends, writers, philosophers, other artists or even pop icons had an impact on the work you do?
Since childhood, I’ve been strongly influenced by Sci-Fi novels, comics and TV series, admiring both the magical world of “Metropolis” by Fritz Lang and the vastness of ” 2001: A Space Odyssey” by S. Kubrick.
I have always loved outsider art and the instinctive energy that emerges from it.
I like the simplicity of Yandiswa Mazwane’s masks and the inventive madness of Regis R.
I admire the work of Jacob Dahlgren, Kristof Kintera, Khalil Chishtee, Stuart Haygarth, … and many others too many to mention all.
More than their technological features, I try to reveal the original, almost primative, form of the robots I create. I carefully chooses vintage objects that have an industrial past, that are marked by time and whose patina has been moulded by years of manual use. I admire the beauty, sometimes hidden, of these discarded industrial parts, I alter their appearance, I sculpt them, and incorporate light sources into their structure before assembling the parts together to create a unique and poetic piece.
Have you ever been pulled in the direction of a pursuit other than being an artist? What are your other interests?
Since childhood I have always dreamt of a job where I would be able to perform drawing. From drawings to sculptures there was a short step, that I made rather quickly.
+Brauer is a graphic designer who lives and works in Paris. Over the past 20 years he has designed numerous album covers for French and international artists and pursued his personal artistic expression through painting, photography and sculpture. He regularly exhibits in Paris, and presents here a few pieces from his series “Viva la roboluciòn!”
More than their technological features, he tries to reveal the original, almost primative, form of the robots he creates. +Brauer carefully chooses vintage objects that have an industrial past, that are marked by time and whose patina has been moulded by years of manual use. He admires the beauty, sometimes hidden, of these discarded industrial parts, alters their appearance, sculpts them, and incorporates light sources into their structure before assembling the parts together to create a unique and poetic piece.
The beauty of the materials and the venerable patinas express their beauty in the light of day, while at night, it is the turn of the strange, evocative light fittings to reveal their magic. Right from conception, the element of light is an integral part of the artwork: each robot is designed to interact with it’s environment in a different way whether it is turned on or off.
Abandoned or forgotten in workshops and garages, the industrial parts are reborn in unique works of art that embrace us with their kind presence, imposing personality, and amazing humanity.
Each piece is a statement of poetic resistance to mass-consumption.
All images copyright of the artist and used with their permission.