Bernard Schottlander was born in Mainz, Germany in 1924 and moved to England in 1939. After serving with the British Army in India, he learnt to weld and took a course in Sculpture at Leeds College of Art and subsequently – with the help of a bursary – at the Anglo-French art centre in St John’s Wood. Bernard Schottlander described himself as a designer for interiors and a sculptor for exteriors. After several successful years as an industrial designer, Bernard Schottlander chose to concentrate on sculpture. In the late 1950’s he established a workshop in North London where he was ably assisted for many years by George Nash . From 1965 he taught metalwork at St Martins School of Art. In the same year he was part of the group show Six Artists at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London and in the following year (1966) had his fif irst solo show at the Hamilton Galleries, London.
An admirer of Alexander Calder, in 1951 Schottlander created the Mantis series of lamps. Movement is intrinsic to all of Schottlander’s work: an artist, an engineer and in no small measure a handyman, he devised a clever system of counterweights combined with a series of strong, and flexible metal bars. The shade also is unique of its kind. Like an acrobat suspended in mid-air, it is made from aluminium using spinning and chasing techniques that are a part of the metalworker’s inventory of skills, but to which he has brought his sculptor’s eye to create a helical movement in which the symmetrical and the asymmetrical are in opposition. His lights, with their eternal play between balance and imbalance, reveal some of the secrets of what we mean by ‘solid’ and ‘empty’. And like his idol’s mobiles they appear to defy the laws of gravity. The essential poetry of the object is an invitation to enter a dream world of the most judiciously balanced elegance.