Sensational self-taught clockmaker Miki Eleta was born in 1950 in Višegrad, Bosnia and Herzegovina but made Switzerland his home after moving there 40 years ago.
Since transforming himself from kinetic artist to fully-fledged clockmaker (with an emphasis still very much on kinetic art), Miki has become a renowned creator of unique pieces, making as many as two per year (in a good year) over the past decade.
His latest clock, the eminently impressive Hippocampus, features a musical movement in which the melody will not repeat itself for at least a century.
Hippocampus (right) and Continuum Mobile (left)
Miki’s Continuum Mobile is powered by a falling weight and features a tourbillon visible above the oblique axis. The weight powers the gear train, causing it to advance. The winding mechanism is located within the column and it is rewound using a key to generate just over four days of power reserve.
This piece sometimes acts as Miki’s muse. On the few occasions that he is lost for inspiration, he returns to gaze at this clock, such that he calls it his “inspiration clock”.
Pentourbillon was created to showcase the magic and beauty of a tourbillon escapement and so features a double flying, three-minute tourbillon powered by a driving-weight and adorned with a symbolic representation of night (a lapis lazuli moon) and day (an amber bead). Petals of the flower at the back of the timepiece open mechanically during the day and close at night.
La Luna is a double pendulum clock, its 120cm steel and chrome column concealing the driving-weight. Just before the full hour has passed, the jumping hour indication is set in motion.
As well as indicating hours, minutes and seconds, weekday, date and month, the timepiece displays moon phase (which only needs correcting after 128 years), signs of the zodiac, the longest and shortest day of the year, and the four seasons. La Luna features a range of materials – gold, chrome, lapis lazuli, blue glass, mother-of-pearl and horn – and has a five-day power reserve.
N°26 has an Eleta chronometer escapement producing an impulse every other second. The winding weight is extremely light – just 200 grams. The ‘mystery’ moon-phase indicator – ‘mystery’ because it is not visibly linked to the movement – makes up part of this weight. N°26 has an eight-day power reserve.
Die Sieben is not a clock at all but a pure kinetic sculpture that produces a delightful visual and acoustic interplay. It chimes 16 different tones using 16 passageways where tiny steel balls move along touching 16 pentatonic cylinders and 47 gears.
These gears return the balls through the passageways to the sound of a tune that will only repeat itself once every seven years. Die Sieben measures nearly 140cm in height and 60cm in diameter.
“For me, manufacturing a clock means feeling life and adventure,” says Miki. “I love this process and all the difficulties I have to cope with because they do not occur by chance. Subordinating myself to the play of gears and levers, producing all components myself, learning new techniques… ideas flash through my mind.”
Miki explains his work to a visitor at the MAD Gallery, Geneva
He adds: “I respect all that has been invented so far, but I do not respect the idea that nothing is unknown. Therefore, I do not stop searching for surprises, new forms, unknown movements and presentations. Clocks have entered my world of kinetic art and sounds and they remain there.”
Maximilian Büsser and Miki Eleta at the MAD Gallery, Geneva
These six pieces by Miki Eleta are on exhibition at the MB&F MAD Gallery in Geneva until March 15th, 2013. You can watch an excellent interview with him at the MAD Gallery below, and for more information on Miki and his work, please click here.