Kinetic Art (1950s-1960s)

The name derives from the Greek word “Kinesis”, meaning movement. Kinetic art focuses on forms which contain and express motion. It was revolutionary because it created a new concept of dimension.

WAVE at Coachella
WAVE at Coachella
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History of The Movement

Kineticism is an art movement that developed mostly in Europe and USA between 1920 and 1970. The movement was not recognised as one until 1955 when the exhibitionLe Mouvementtook place at Galerie Denise Renè in Paris. Kinetic artists referred to real and apparent motion in their works.马塞尔Duchamp,Vladimir Tatlin, andLászló Moholy-Nagyare considered early Kinetic artists for their interpretation of abstractions of time and space that destabilized formal structures through mechanized motion.
The achievement of international success also corresponds to the beginning of the descending parable of kinetic art caused by the debut of new movements likePop Artthat reduced its visibility.
During the 2000s Kinetic art was the subject of rediscovery by critics. In Italy, theGnam of Romeorganized the exhibition “Programmed and kinetic art” in 2012. In the same year, theNew Museum of Contemporary ArtinNew Yorkorganized the exhibition “Ghosts in the machine”, followed in 2013 by the exhibition “Perception and Illusion: Programmed and Italian Kinetic Art” at theMuseo de Arte ContemporáneoinBuenos Aires

Installation: 'Cosmic Kisses Illuminated'
Installation: ‘Cosmic Kisses Illuminated’
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Kinetic art

The movement focuses on the perception ofdynamismon canvas, theoptic phenomenaand the perception oflightinto the human mind. Breaking the rules of traditional art, which sees the artwork as expressions, Kinetic art aims to involve the observer not only in a formal and emotional way: the participation is needed on psychological and perspective levels as well. Among its forerunnersDadaism,Futurism,Impressionism,Constructivismand theBauhaus。活力和K的表示是至关重要的inetic Art; the movement is viewed as the opposite of immobility and alienation, the great social illness. Expanded during the Twenties, this artistic movement had its full development in the decade between 1950-1960, years during which studies on psychology, personality and perception became increasingly important.
In Italy,Programmatic artdeveloped in parallel to Kinetic art thanks toBruno Munariand others.

Kinetic art
Kinetic art
Image source: dean


The kinetic art movement was the first to offer motion effect representation, in paintings and sculptures, which extended in time and space. This was revolutionary because it introduced an entirely new dimension into the viewing experience.
Different artists expressed a diverse attitude on this process: however those more influenced byConstructivismfelt that by embracing the machine, art could integrate itself with everyday life, taking on a new central role in the Utopian societies of the future; artists more influenced byDadaapplied mechanical processes in a satirical spirit, to comment on the potential enslavement of humankind by science, technology, and capitalist production.
Many Kinetic artists were interested in analogies between machines and human bodies.

Alexander Calder, Spider
Alexander Calder,Spider,1939
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The most influent artists worked around Europe and USA, some forming artistic groups, others worked mostly by themselves.
One of the most famous exponent of this movement isAlexander Calder, an American artist.
Bruno Munari, founder of theProgrammatic art
Enzo Mari
– theT Group(founded in Milan by D. Boriani, G. Colombo, G. De Vecchi, G. Varisco);
– theN Group(founded in Padua in 1959 by A. Biasi, E. Chiggio, T. Costa, E. Landi, M. Massironi);
Jesús-Rafael Soto
– theGRAV(Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel, founded in Paris in 1960 by H. Garcia-Rossi, J. Le Parc, F. Morellet, F. Sombrino, J. Stein, Yvaral);
– theDviženie group(“movement”, founded in Moscow in 1962 by L. Nusberg, A. Krivtchikov, F. Infante, A. Stepanov).

Enzo Mari puzzling animals
Enzo Mari puzzling animals

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