[NetBehaviour] The Kinetica Art Fair: a very moving experience.

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Sat Mar 7 08:23:44 CET 2009


The Kinetica Art Fair: a very moving experience.

The Kinetica Art Fair can be enjoyed by art lovers, children and geeks.

By Colin Gleadell.

A new event opens in London this week that sounds as though it could be 
fun. Carnivorous lampshades, pole-dancing robots, mechanical writing 
machines and mesmerising light sculptures are all promised at the 
world's first Kinetica Art Fair, where 25 galleries and 150 artists will 
congregate to promote a once fashionable art form that is now reclaiming 
our attention.

Historians usually trace the origins of kinetic art, which loosely means 
art that moves, back to the early 20th century and to Duchamp's 
revolving bicycle wheel. After Alexander Calder began making mobiles in 
the Fifties, kinetic art became a phenomenon of the Fifties and Sixties, 
characterised by Jean Tinguely's bizarre, functionless machines, or 
Takis's electromagnetic signal sculptures.

But the works were difficult to maintain and frequently broke down. "It 
was a commercial disaster," says Dan Chadwick, one of the new generation 
of kinetic artists showing at this week's fair. There were also 
reservations as to whether this was art or just gadgetry, and, after the 
novelty wore off, kinetic art was relegated to a footnote in the history 
of art.

Its revival was heralded in 2000 by the Hayward Gallery in London in a 
largely retrospective exhibition, Force Fields, which demonstrated that 
kinetic art was "not just silly robotics", says Ellie Harrison-Read of 
the Flowers East gallery, which last year presented its own exhibition 
of contemporary practitioners.

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