Watches

Time Machines: Astounding Kinetic Art Sculptures From Florian Schlumpf

M.A.D Gallery’s mechanically-minded artist blurs the line between engineering and art…

The inner workings of a watch are fascinating. Even if you can’t grasp the minute intricacies of a master watchmaker – don’t worry, even we struggle – there’s an innate beauty to the mechanical precision of a movement.

The problem however is the size. It’s easy to appreciate how delicate a watch movement is, less so the graceful movement of the interlocked mechanisms. Even with a loupe it’s hard to appreciate just how stately the processions of gears and springs are. That’s where Florian Schlumpf comes in.

You may have heard of M.A.D Gallery before; it’s the closest thing MB&F have to their own boutique and, in the creative vein of Max Bussler’s eccentric watch house, acts more as an exhibition space than any kind of store.

Florian Schlumpf's "Time Machines" at M.A.D Galllery

Florian Schlumpf TM2 Nickel-Plated

Granted you can find the full range of MB&F pieces there so it does have a practical function for the brand. That however is only one facet of the gallery. The main reason for its existence is to showcase those artists for whom watch and clockmaking are about more than telling the time, those for whom the craft itself is of innate, transcendent beauty.

Florian Schlumpf is one such artist. Aside from a name that’s more than a little satisfying to say out loud (seriously, give it a go), Schlumpf has the passion for mechanics of any engineer. Just take a look at the ‘Zeitmachinen’ currently on display at M.A.D Gallery and you’ll see what we mean.

Florian Schlumpf's "Time Machines" at M.A.D Galllery

Florian Schlumpf TM3 Kaspar Black Silver

Clockmaking on an epic scale, the TM1 and TM3 Zeitmachinen are visually and aurally stunning. Not only can you see the ponderous swinging of the gargantuan pendulums but you can hear them. The soft swish as they move through the air, the sonorous tick, the almost imperceptible clicking of gears, they’re like the inner workings of a watch blown up a hundredfold.

Perhaps most impressive however is the Wall Machine. A mosaic of wheels and gears in different, contrasting finishes, their leisurely spin sits within its own frame, emphasising that this is more artistic than artisanal. The Wall Machine’s never-ending movement is crowned with a mirrored gold pendulum for a truly mesmerising installation.

Florian Schlumpf's "Time Machines" at M.A.D Galllery

Florian Schlumpf Wall Machine

The question with Schlumpf’s work becomes whether it is art, engineering or some grey area between the two. After all, in many minds the two are poles apart, one obsessed with numbers and facts, the other caring as little about them as possible. The bottom line is that there’s no satisfying answer or label to put on these kinds of creations; however, as eerily beautiful as they are, does there need to be?

For more information: www.madgallery.net

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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