The Art of Mechanics and Kinetics

Interviews by Saif Haddad

7 min read

With Dubai Design Week in full bloom, many artists and galleries are capitalizing on one of the regions biggest events to showcase their latest creations, introduce people to new concepts, and elevate their exposure. Two of these artists are Maximilian Busser, founder and curator of MB&F M.A.D.Gallery, and Amrish Patel, founder and principal of Apical Reform, who spoke to MOJEH MEN about the debut of Apical Reform's latest creations: three limited edition mechanical art pieces entitled "Schermo," “Tornado,” and “Stingray.”

“Tornado” and “Stingray” embody the aesthetics of using mechanical motion and movement, to convey artistic expression and are now launched during Dubai Design Week. Apical reform will also display a third piece entitled “Schermo,” which pays homage to the mechanical prowess of supercars and focuses on the play between light and movement.

MB&F M.A.D Gallery is known to be the home of mechanical art, a rare breed of art. With its many branches across the globe, The Dubai Mall branch will be the home of Apical Reform’s latest creation during and after Dubai Design Week.

The two design houses’ partnership did not come out of thin air, but from a mutual love for mechanical and kinetic art, the intricacies that go into understanding the engineering and movement of an object in order to turn it into art pieces to be admired.

The first creation entitled “Tornado” is created using circular metal rings that are geometrically positioned to mimic the rhythm and rise and fall of a whirlpool, the movement of the rings creates a seemingly endless current. There are 88 limited editions finished in stainless steel and another 88 limited edition pieces in stainless steel with a black gloss finish.

“Stingray” on the other hand mimics the movement of the sea creature that its named after by synergizing art, mathematics, mechanics, and electronics. Looking at this creation leaves observers mesmerized by its hypnotic movements. This creation is limited to 8 limited edition pieces in grey and rose gold colours.

Last but not least, the third piece on display, entitled “Schermo” pays homage to classic supercars that have always held a prime position at MB&F M.A.D.Gallery. The iconic forms of the Ferrari GTO 250, Aston Martin DB5, and Lamborghini Miura provided inspiration for this piece. While the final art form is static, its response to light creates a surprising and mesmerising interplay of perception, depth, and dimension. 

Interview with Maximilian Busser, founder and curator of MB&F M.A.D.Gallery

MOJEH MEN: Tell us more about how this partnership with Apical Reform came about?

Maximilian Busser: Like most, if not all collaborations, it starts with a meeting between two creators. I loved Amrish and Darshan’s work (was blown away by Sonuslexica they presented two years ago in Design Days) so when Amrish contacted us, I was eager to discover the man and his work. We immediately got along super well, and I loved some of the ideas he pitched to us. The rest is history.

MM: Why is it important to have pieces such as Tornado, Stingray, and Schermo at MB&F M.A.D.Gallery?

MB: We curate a very rare breed of art: mechanical or kinetic art. To my knowledge, we are the only ones in the world. There are very few artists in that field, partly because it is very complex to master (it involves intense engineering on top of creativity and talent) and because virtually, no galleries are interested in it. We often refer to our MB&F M.A.D. Gallery as an orphanage, a place that welcomes kinetic or mechanical artists who are shunned by all other galleries.

These three pieces, and more specifically Tornado and Stingray, allowed the Apical Reform team to create in a domain they were initially not that versed in. It allowed them to explore and learn – for example, the extremely difficult smooth and harmonious choreography that characterize both pieces. Pride comes from challenges overcome, so they should be very proud.

MM: Can you give us an insight into the gallery’s relationship with Dubai and is there anything special that makes it stand out from MB&F M.A.D.Gallery’s relationship with other cities?

MB: Initially the MB&F M.A.D. Gallery concept was created to showcase the incredible talent of a few kinetic artists to the world. Help them initially survive, then thrive and be able to create way more than they could before. From the beginning, we dreamt of a concept where mechanical and kinetic artists of all over the world would find their sanctuary. It is now happening. Of course, the emphasis is put on finding local talent in each city where lies a Gallery. Last year we championed the very talented Ashekman twin brothers: Lebanese street artists based in Dubai who created for us their very first solo show for a gallery, and we hope to be able to showcase more local talent over the years.

MM: Your insight into the intricate world of kinetic art and horology grant you access to great creations from around the world. What is the status of local and regional art and artists?

MB: Very much still at the beginning stages, as there was no culture in the region of such art up until very recently… If no gallery is ready to champion your art, you need more than a mere vocation to continue on that path.

MM: Is it hard for new and upcoming local artist to tap into this world?

MB: Very hard and at the same time, how better to differentiate yourself as an artist than to take a path practically no one else has walked? At the end of the day, we will of course only curate what we love and believe in, but we will always be there to listen and help

MM: Can we expect more partnerships with local artists in the future?

MB: Definitely.

Interview with Amrish Patel, founder and principal of Apical Reform

MOJEH MEN: Can you tell us more about the origin and inspiration behind Apical Reform?

Amrish Patel: We wanted to start a design revolution and we wanted it to be forward-thinking, progressive, democratic and inclusive which is why we banded together an ever-growing family of like-minded individuals – across a wide gamut of design/creative schools, expressions and media – to create a thought lab.

MM: Can you tell us more about your partnership MB&F M.A.D.Gallery?

AP: Since childhood, I have been fascinated by moving objects and that fascination grew into an appreciation of horology and kinetic design. I was first introduced to MB&F’s mechanical and kinetic art at Design Days Dubai 2016 and since then have followed their work closely and always dreamt of a collaboration with MB&F. Finally, an introduction to Max led to many conversations and we agreed to collaborate. Working together on this collection with MB&F has been the most amazing and challenging experience.

MM: Can we expect more partnership with other galleries, artists, or design houses around the world?

AP: We genuinely believe that dialogue is important for design to evolve because ultimately, design is a reflection of contemporary culture as well as an aspiration for the future. Which is why, collaborations are important as they open up all parties involved to new ways of thinking, expression, production. We will be unveiling a few collaborations at Dubai Design Week as well as new creations in 2019.

MM: What was the inspiration behind Stingray and Tornado?

AP: Precision, synchronicity, and perpetual motion. These underlying principles of horology are the inspiration behind the new product Tornado. The fluidity of a whirlpool is brought to life through precise design and engineering, as axially linked discs are set into action, creating a fluid and seemingly endless current.

While the gallery is known for its inventive proposals, the foundation of their work is consistently derived from nature. For a collection that explores motion in its many myriad formats, the piece inspired by the mighty stingray slowed down its motion to separate each gesture, this piece is a homage to the mighty creature; in form and in its ambulating movement.

MM: Why did you choose Dubai to be the home of AR Gallery?

AP: Dubai is fast becoming the global hub of design, so that is the commercial reason why we opened the gallery in Dubai Design District. On a deeper level, our philosophy and the work the gallery exhibits (be it our own, collaborations, or independent designers) has a lot in common with the spirit of Dubai – innovation, forward-thinking, imagining the future, and technology while still having the community at the heart of our vision.

MM: Can we expect more from Apical Reform during Dubai Design Week?

AP: In addition to our amazing collaboration with MB&F M.A.D.Gallery, we will be unveiling a new installation with AHEC as well as a new work by Zaha Hadid Architects that will be presented in partnership with Nagami – all present at the AR Gallery.

Read more MB&F on MOJEH Men 

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