Kinetic art, which emerged in the late 1950s, is about processes of change and evolution. It is art that creatively employs inert materials as carriers of forces, so as to extend three-dimensional works beyond the static occupation of space into time... [more]
Kinetic art, which emerged in the late 1950s, is about processes of change and evolution. It is art that creatively employs inert materials as carriers of forces, so as to extend three-dimensional works beyond the static occupation of space into time and motion. Kinetic artists such as Pol Bury, Jean Tinguely, and Yaacov Agam, based mainly in Europe, rejected the Renaissance treatment of space through fixed-point, carefully diagrammed perspective. The dynamism that these artists wished to capture had found prior sculptural expression in pieces such as Marcel Duchamp's "Bicycle Wheel" (1913) and Alexander Calder's mobiles, as well as in the 1920s work of Naum Gabo and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
With the arrival of Kinetic sculpture, there was a proliferation of styles. The common aim was the creation of works that didn't dominate space with images of mass, but rather became integrally involved with the space around them. Moving parts powered by hand, air, or motor make these kinetic works resemble machines, and frequently they were assembled from actual pieces of machinery. Tinguely's fascination with twentieth-century technology inspired him to create wildly kinetic junk sculpture that is a poignant commentary on the effects of machination. His "Dissecting Machine" pairs machine parts with the severed body parts of a mannequin to create a mechanized personification of a human, while his "Homage to New York" self-destructed in the sculpture garden at the New York MoMA as a darkly satirical message about industry.
In a different vein, George Rickey's Kinetic sculptures were intended for the outdoors and constructed to sway in the wind, essentially joining technology with natural elements. The effect of Kinetic sculpture on viewers is one of collaboration, making them interact with moving forces. This interactive dimension is generally regarded as a precursor to the digital, computer, and laser art of today. [show less]