Karl-Hugo Mars: Metaphysics of metal objects...

Karl-Hugo Mars was occasionally asked to design and make various objects for his clients as a decorator for 10 years. These first steps in creation along with a long-standing fascination with metal, rapidly lead to a major change in his life in 2005 when he embraced the artistic path as a self taught metal sculptor. He creates sculptures, furniture, frameworks,"paintings" and lit objects from auto parts and other sorts of scrap metal salvaged from junkyards, industry leftovers or found in yard sales. His workshop, near Nevers (central of France), is located on a 200 year old farm.

At a time when almost everything is standard, consumable and quickly discarded, he gives metal bits a second life by rearranging them into unique and durable pieces of art. His work is, in some ways, a reflection on man’s place in his environment as recycling becomes an ever more important issue.

The creative and creation process takes time and reflection. Choosing the various elements among some 20 tons of miscellaneous parts carefully sorted and stored in boxes on


industrial shelves is the first step. Each element then undergoes a serious cleanup to rid it of grease and rust before it can actually be worked on. Only then can gears, axles, steel sheets, ball bearings or cams be cut, adjusted, ground, welded, bolted and polished to come in shape. After an endless number of finishing details, comes the ultimate touch: varnish. Finally, each piece is ready to start a new life in somebody's home somewhere around the world. Mar’s artistic process is all about contrasts.

The alchemy of changing metal trash into luxury items. Merely functional objects into aesthetic combinations. Engineering intelligence into symbolic representations. And hard and cold technical objects into smooth and sensitive arrangements. Fractal dimension between macrocosm and microcosm, the relationship between what is shown and what is concealed and the struggle between density and lightness are recurring themes in Mars' work.


But in the end, preserving traces of wear and tear or evidence of origin on some parts undoubtedly gives a particular texture to the objects… a human touch so to speak. Mars regularly exhibits in galleries, contemporary art shows in France, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain as well as classic car shows like RetroMobile or Goodwood. He also works on commissions for exclusive customers, individuals or corporations.

Eden (door panel) with detail

La Foule

Storm (coffee table)