Page 16 - Studio International - February 1967
P. 16

A perspective of kinetic art

      Comment by Jasia Reichardt

      All kinetic art is involved with the     those of Calder, George Rickey and Jean   organic additive, provided by chance air
      disturbance of those factors which circum-  Tinguely.                             currents and the occasional intervention of
      scribe the work of art as a finite entity.   When referring to kinetic art, I mean the   the spectator. Their mobiles are resolved
      By removing the rigidity of the concept   type of art which employs mechancial    structurally and visually when static.
      that a given art object occupies a constant   motion, and where this motion is     To express misgivings about kinetic art, in
      space or format, that it is composed of   introduced as a technical rather than an   particular in relation to boredom, one must
      unchanging relationships, and that the   ideological consideration. The type of art   examine those works which come alive for
      only alterations in its physical appearance   which produces the illusion of motion is   that short duration when they are in
      are fortuitous, kinetic art opens up     usually referred to as cinetic (Vasarely),   motion, where the programme of changes
      possibilities which are so immense that one   and the works which involve manual   is short and repetitive and where the
      could hardly even attempt to list them. In   manipulation in the re-arrangement of the   element of spectacle is not sufficiently
      creating a situation which allows for    various elements, although they come under   memorable to leave° a lasting impact on
      unfolding and changing images it suggests   no specific heading, do not belong to the   the viewer. It is as if the magic of the work
      a process of continual development. The   realm of kinetic art either. There are also   was short lived and irrevocably terminated
      element of movement proposes the advent   artists who make use of movement which   with the switching off of the electric current.
      of a different relationship between the   cannot be readily classified (nor should it   There is yet another characteristic which
      spectator and the work of art to that    be), but whose approach only incidentally   these works share, i.e. like the majority of
      hitherto engendered by sculpture and     associates them with kineticism. Agam, for   those produced by the Groupe Recherche
      painting. It introduces mechanical motion,   instance, who is especially involved with   d'Art Visuel and the Italian groups, they
      use of technological devices and the     relating his reliefs and structures to certain   have an anonymous quality, which far from
      possibility of a spectacle. These basically   aspects of reality makes deliberate   being incidental is often one of the funda-
      are the ideas and preoccupations behind   parallels between his works and our      mental criteria motivating the work. It is
      what has come to be called the 'movement'   environment which cannot at any one    unfair and inaccurate to apply this to the
      movement.                                moment be grasped in its entirety. Thus he   entire oeuvre of any group or any
       Partly because the possibilities and the   has constructed images which too cannot   individual, since there are some very obvious
      limitations of these propositions have not   be perceived at once but develop and   exceptions, particularly the environmental
      been fully grasped, let alone explored, and   alter as the viewer walks in front of the   constructions by the Zero group, which are
      partly because kinetic art is only at the   work and sees it from different angles.   endowed with a considerable degree of
      beginning of its beguiling adventure, the   Another artist who only in a peripheral   vitality and imagination.
      promise implied remains still to be fulfilled,    way is involved with kineticism is Soto. In   Most kinetic objects are involved with a
      To date only a small number of individual   his work movement seems almost incidental   repertoire—a repertoire of movements,
      artists has made a vital contribution in this   to the content and significance of each   juxtapositions and combinations which are
      field, and among these the outstanding   individual piece. Also, Calder and George   often so minimal (shift of position of
      names that most readily come to mind are    Rickey have made use of movement as an    similar elements) that they fail to make

      Contributors to this issue               David Medalla, born in Manila, Philippines, in 1942,   he was ,associated with group activities of abstract,
                                               studied drama and literature at Columbia University,   constructed and kinetic art in England and abroad.
                                               U.S.A., in 1956. He 'invented' auto-creative art (con-
      Jasia Reichardt, assistant director of the Institute of   cerned primarily with the transformation of materials,   Marcello Salvadori, born in 1928, came to England in
      Contemporary Arts, Edward Lucie-Smith, poet and   especially pulverized materials). He has had exhibi-  1955 and began working with industrial materials two
      critic, Dore Ashton, American writer and critic, and   tions as a painter in America, Europe, and Asia.   years later. In 1966 he founded the Centre for Ad-
      George Savage, member of the council of the British                               vanced Study for Science in Art, which he runs in
      Antique Dealers' 'Association, are regular contri-  Jesus-Raphael  Soto  was born in Ciudad Bolivar,   close collaboration with Erica Marx.
      butors to  Studio International.         Venezuela in 1923. He studied at the School of
                                                                                        Lev Nusberg founded the Soviet group 'Movement'
                                               Plastic Arts in Caracas from 1942-7. He was then
      Carlos Cruz-Diez was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in   appointed Director of the School' of Plastic Arts in   in 1962.

      1923. From 1940-5 he studied at the School of Plastic   Maracaibo. In 1950 he went to Paris where he now   Frank Malina was born at Brenham in the U.S. in 1912.
      and Applied Arts of Caracas. Until 1960 he inter-  lives. He won a prize at the XXXII Venice Biennale.   He exhibited structural reliefs in 1954 in Paris. He
      mittently practised and taught commercial art and                                 had one-man shows in Paris in 1960 and 1965, in
      journalistic design. He has lived and worked in Paris   Takis was born in Athens in 1925. He made his first   Milan in 1960 and in Lyon, Rome, and Prague in 1966.
      since 1960.                              sculpture in 1946. From 1954 he, has lived and worked
                                               in Paris and has had numerous group exhibitions and   Jeffrey Steele, born in Cardiff in 1931, studied at
      Julio Le Parc was born in Mendoza, Argentine, in   several shows in both Europe and the U.S.A.   Newport and Cardiff Colleges of Art. He was awarded
      1928. He is the founder member of the Groupe                                      the French Government Scholarship in 1959, Llandaff
      Recherche d'Art Visuel. He was the winner of the   Kenneth Martin was born In Sheffield in 1905. He did   Festival Design Prize in 1962, and Arts Council
      International Prize at the 1966 Venice Biennale.   his first kinetic works in 1951. During the'50's and '60's   Bursary in 1963.
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