An Interview With Martin Klimas
Interview by Erik Nielsen
Project: Porcelain Dolls
Why porcelain dolls?
MK: Primarily, they are breakable and affordable. I was searching for something that you can easily drop from the height of 4 meters in my studio and would smash great on the floor, creating a massive and complex event.
I could control the camera by a noise trigger, so effectively, I only had to let them fall in the right position to trigger the camera and do the shot.
At first I looked at Fleamarkets and later I went on Ebay to buy them. As I found the Kung-Fu Figurines at a Chinese Supermarket around the corner. It gives the work a really good turn and I let them fall in pairs to get the intention of a fight between them.
How many porcelain dolls did it take before you found the right light and the perfect shot?
Until now it must be Hundreds of dolls. Lately I imported 200 Kung-fu Figurines directly from the Manufacturer in China.
The problem is, I have many failures until I get a good shot because the Figurine has to hit the floor, perfectly aligned and vertical with its base. The base must absorb a lot of kinetic energy produced from the fall from 4 meters high and when they do a little jump and all the parts of the smash fly in the air, it is perfect. Only these shots I could use. The rest looks not really agile or alive.
What did you enjoy most about the process?
Of course, when I could get one of these shots, were the Figurine becomes alive or doing a fight or a dance and I haven’t to clean up the whole setting for nothing. There a days, I dropped the whole days figurines and cleaned the set but didn’t getting anything. This was expensive and frustrating.
Also, it is a fascinating world of craftsmanship existing since hundreds of years in Europe and long before in China and have been high tech in its beginning. Porcelain Figurines are not perceived as Art these days, but there are wonderful pieces under it. Have a look at the details of the white Nymphenburger Porcelain. Many of which are created by F. A. Bustelli (1723 – 1763) a great Porcelain modeler. He worked for the famous bavarian Porcelain Manufactory.
A lot of, almost all of your work is concerned with making time visible, why has this been your obsession?
Because it is the main obsession of photography itself. To catch something out of the flow of time, to find the perfect moment is what photographers are ever looking for. My intent was, to find a subject, were this idea have been transferred in one single image.
Is there a particular school of thought that has informed your experience and photographic technique the most? Like an artist, philosopher or photographer?
Eaedweard Muybridge is important because he analyzed moving processes. Harold E. Edgerton is a great pioneer as well. He discovered and optimized the high speed-photography, technically. Also, the research of Hans Jenny on wave phenomena. He was looking for premier forms which gave shape to everything on earth.
Why has science become your main approach to art?
Because scientific photographic sets often gave a view to hidden imagery. I only try to make these images better and bring in an interesting context.
What were you exploring before Porcelain Dolls?
I was working a lot with Fluids, mostly with Paint and Water. Also, with liquid nitrogen to see, how the materials changing its behavior in another temperature.