Born in 1956, Frank Buchwald moved to Berlin in his twenties to attend the prestigious school of Fine Arts from where he became an independent artist and science fiction illustrator. In 1993, having found himself unemployed, the Hannover native channelled his efforts into designing and manufacturing metallic furniture, creating all manner of metal household objects until a decade ago when he began to focus solely on making lamps. The Machine Lights are the astounding results of his endeavours.
Meeting him in his very own environment was such an incredible experience. The Machine Lights are extraordinary artworks created from as many as 200 components featuring blackened steel, patina-rich brass and visible light filaments that emit a warm, yellow glow. I can testify that with his bare hands, he burns the steel, dips it into acid, then shapes and colors the metal into life. Surprisingly enough, Buchwald wears gloves to protect his hands from the cold winter when it becomes unbearable, but not from acid!
Each piece represents a fragment of Frank Buchwald’s life. As a self-taught artist, he sketches his rough drafts only on paper with pencils and marker pens. According to him, sketching is a “process in motion” and the only way that he can find the essence of a new object.
His collection of 10 Machine Lights is a testimony of an artist who exudes immeasurable passion and breaks the codes of conventionality. Buchwald loves to transform everyday objects into timeless works of art. He creates machines that give light but not to give light- a subtlety sometimes too complex to understand. But it was only natural that Frank Buchwald’s Machine Lights would find a suitable habitat at the M.A.D. Gallery, in our crazy universe of kinetic art. During my visit to Berlin, Frank told me: “When men design and make machines, we transfer a part of our human spirit into the machinery and I like this to be obvious in my art. Electricity and machines are our second umbilical cord, we are in a permanent symbiosis in which they can help us, or they can dominate us.”
In Frank’s case, maybe the Machine Lights both help and dominate him. They have become his life as well as his livelihood, and he spends nearly all his time working on them, designing, sourcing materials and then crafting them. Each one takes about five weeks to produce meaning that Frank is only able to make ten lamps each year.
Frank Buchwald transforms his ideas into reality. The Machine Lights sold at the M.A.D. Gallery start from CHF 9’100 – incredible value considering their time and consuming labor-intensive creation. Each piece comes with its original sketch, signed by the artist of course. I can only encourage you to visit the M.A.D. Gallery to admire Frank Buchwald’s Machine Lights.