Twelve wooden birds rotate on four axes in imitation of one of Johann Knopf’s drawings. Knopf, also known as Knüpfer, died in Wiesloch asylum in 1910. He was a patient of Dr Hans Prinzhorn, one of the first psychiatrists to become interested in, and respectful of, the creative works of his patients. Prinzhorn studied these works and preserved them in what is now one of the most significant collections of the art of the emotionally disordered.
The collection has over the years attracted the attention of many artists, most noticeably the Surrealists whose interest in the unconscious mind as a reservoir of new and refreshing thought processes drew them to the works of Prinzhorn’s patients. His book, which is translated as “ The Artistry of the Mentally ill ” sold very well in the Paris of the 1920s and 30s.
It often happens that people who are unable or unwilling to apply conventional reason in their everyday lives have a remarkable ability to produce highly organised artifacts. People such as Knopf make drawings of great beauty and precision, evincing insights and imagery that are often inaccessible to ordinary artists.
Ordinary artists (and even extraordinary artists like Max Ernst) have shamelessly appropriated these works for their own purposes. Unencumbered by considerations of art history and fashion, the products of the Geisteskranken appeal to these art robbers who,
hidebound by their own education, seek to assume the appearance of naturalness and spontaneity.
This mechanical homage to Knopf’s work lacks some of the elegance of his drawings but I hope to improve with practice.
Bildnerei der Geisteskranken, H. Prinzhorn 1922
The Discovery of the Art of the Insane, John M MacGregor 1989
Beyond Reason, Hayward Gallery (catalogue) 1996
Dimensions: H 330mm x W250mm X D250mm
Limited edition of 6.
July 21, 2016 by sarah · Comments Off
Size (mm) 250H x 200W x 80W
Click here for more images.
January 25, 2016 by sarah · Comments Off
Just in time for Valentines day. The Heart Beater by Martin Smith is now available in Bubblegum Pink.
This is a small version of the Heart Machine, an alarming little machine to demand the attention of the one you love.
Available in vibrant red, bubblegum pink or shiny brass.
Martin Smith makes kinetic devices that investigate themes of humour, nonsense and futility.
He originally designed and made the Heart Beater as a St Valentines Day gift for the one he loves.
Steel and brass. Height 17cm
Each piece individually numbered.
£156 (inc VAT.)
October 15, 2015 by sarah · Comments Off
As well as a useful tool in the teaching of mathematics, this tableau is an example of an environmentally responsible work of art in that some of the materials have been recycled twice.
The oak frame was once a bedside table belonging to a family living in Wallasey. It was then made into the case for an artwork called “Little Reinhold’s Wonderful Sausage Machine”. When that case was abandoned for a more active presentational format (see video), it was sawn apart and the bits used for the present edition of six canine rotisseries. Should a purchaser decide to destroy one or more of these items, we urge them to cut it up into even smaller pieces for the manufacture of say, clothes pegs, with a view to furthering their possible careers as cocktail sticks. The tails of the dogs are made from a boxwood folding rule once belonging to a man born in the Gorbals district of Glasgow in 1894. Only a few inches of this valuable material remain unrecycled. The dogs’ legs were harvested from an oak table top of unknown origin. All the other materials; wood, metal and paint finishes are from off-cuts or stock purchased before the current environmental concerns became urgent.
Height 20cm x Width 20cm x Depth 8cm
Limited Edition of 6
£695.00 (including VAT)
July 28, 2015 by sarah · Comments Off
Order now for September 2015 Delivery.
We are delighted to offer this limited edition collector’s piece from Martin Smith. It is the next piece in a series of his kinetic objects that celebrate love. As the handle is turned the gears engage to hypnotically flip, spin and rotate the heart.
“She makes my heart spin, she always has”.
Materials: Steel and brass.
Dimensions: Height 32cm / 12”
Colour: Red, brass and patinated steel.
£960 (inc. VAT)
Limited Edition of 25 only – plus 1 Artist’s Proof.
Delivery September 2015.
March 18, 2015 by sarah · Comments Off
£130 (excl. VAT)
£130 (excl. VAT)
January 26, 2015 by sarah · Comments Off
We have two one-off pieces from US artist Aaron Kramer for Valentines.
As a child, I fell in love with contraptions, coin-operated amusements and marionettes. The clack and clatter of machinery plus the visual “eye candy” of mechanisms all gave me a thrill. I have always wanted to make things that moved or implied some hidden mechanical purpose. Drawings of Rube Goldberg-like chain reaction machines filled my sketchbook as a 9 year old. Nestled in our basement workshop I would spend hours dismantling old timepieces and re-imagine them as the inner workings of the puppets I was making. If I listened closely enough I could hear the whirring of gears and governors in their chests. Over time I have observed that if a machine does the same exact thing over and over it seems lifeless. Therefore, I like when a machine can generate a certain randomness. By engineering in a little bit of variability in my machines the result is as if there is a spirit in the machine.
Aaron Kramer is an American artist who relocated to London 2 1/2 years ago with his wife and family. After a 25 year career in Santa Monica, California creating one of a kind art objects primarily from reclaimed materials for a wide range of clients, he has brought his unique vision to the UK for 3 years. See more of his work at www.urban-objects.com.
£240 (excl. VAT)
£350 (excl. VAT)
November 24, 2014 by sarah · Comments Off
The latest piece from Pierre Mayer is based on the famous life-size automaton, The Chess Player Turk.
‘It was a project that was in the back of my mind many years ago.
I consulted my late friend Christian Fechner who advised me to use moving
gears inside the cabinet. Then I asked the legendary John Gaughan, creator
and restorer of large scale magical automata. Finally Abdul Alafrez,
magician, actor and theatre special effects consultant came with the
solution I needed.
With my talented co-worker Cathy Rivers we then solved the different
problems one by one.
The effect is the following: the crank is turned, the left door opens
showing an empty cabinet all the way inside except for the moving gears. The
left door closes, the right one opens and a little man is seeing activating
a lever supposed to lift the left hand’s automaton.
It is my favorite piece, until the next one maybe!!’
Each order will also include a signed photograph of Pierre Mayer with his latest piece, The Turk.
28 cm high, 19 cm large and 9 cm wide
£2650 (Excl. VAT)
April 4, 2014 by sarah · Comments Off
This eye-catching wall-mounted piece is from automata-maker Lisa Slater, who works in the creative community of Hebden Bridge, England.
‘The stable was created after a weekend stay on a farm in the Cotswold’s. I went out to photograph the stable block early in the morning and as I chatted to one of the horses other heads started to peep out one by one displaying various movements as they awaited their morning oats.
The horses are made from various wet timber woods with the bark attach to create variation in breadth and colour. Horse hair is used for the manes. The stable block is made from oak with sycamore doors. I like to work in woods to create horses, something about the unprocessed timber shows the life in the material. I keep my mechanisms simple focusing the works appeal in the quality of materials. So these chaps are just operated by a range of friction powered cams.’
To find out more about Lisa and her work click here:
Dims: Width 55 cm (including handle) Depth 10 cm Height 28 cm
£695 (excl. VAT)
January 20, 2014 by sarah · Comments Off
This advanced wooden kit makes a splendid vintage car. Once complete turn the handle to see all four wheels turn, and the axle moves the front wheels from side to side. The driver’s arms move up and down, which gives the appearance of him steering the driving wheel, all ready to join the rally! This marvellous wooden model kit contains pre-cut pieces made entirely of wood- simply peg and glue together. The kit contains PVA glue, sandpaper (to finish any rough edges), comprehensive instructions and a parts list, as well as hints and tips on decorating your model.
See more Wooden Kits
£34.50 (Excl. VAT)