The art of movement and motion
Kinetic art is a general term for all art that involves actual moving pieces or the simulation of motion through use of artificial lighting, optical illusions or the use of a moving force of some kind. The main goal of this art form is to interpret and represent motion, transience and the qualities of space. Many groups followed this style, or used it occasionally in their work, among which are some of the Futurist group, the Constructionists, the Op art style,some few of the Dada group.
Art between World Wars
Most of the Kinetic art has its roots in the new experimental art by Naum Gabo and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in the two decades between World Wars. From among the Kinetic artists that would later continue their innovations is the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, who built mechanisms so complex that the viewer could not follow all the elements in play. In 1959 he built the “Metamechanique”, which was a machine that leapt and danced across the floor while procuring an accurate diagram of its movement on a small roll of paper trapped inside it. The Belgian artists Pol Bury also created frightening machines of moving pieces that rattled and creaks while in motion and then suddenly stopped in deadening quiet for brief respites. In the U.S the artist Georges Rickey built monstrous, somber, stainless-steel contraptions that moved by wind power alone and the Greek artist Panayotis Vassilakis Takis created thin rods that vibrated like reeds in the wind and in the 50's made signal flags that were constructed of blinking lights at the ends of long, quivering poles that were kept in constant motion. Sounds were also incorporated into Takis' work and the end result is meant to promote a reverie state for the viewer- an inducement for reflection- one constantly humming a barely audible murmur of sound.
The Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visual
The Groupe de Recherche d'Art Visual also made kinetic art in the 50's. Founded by the Argentinian artist Julio Le Parc and Yvaral Vasarely, who was Victor Vasarely's son, the GRAV group all believed in anonymous, impersonal art and followed Victor Vasarely's doctrine of using art to present the viewer with a strain of logic that would encourage them to question the fundamental terms with which were usually face reality. The visual world was to be challenged- not in the body of nature, but in the eye of the person seeing it with new perspective. Their first exhibition was held in 1960 and it was comprised on works of single artists as well as shared projects done by combinations of artists. Optical and mechanical effects were instilled in every room to befuddle and confound the viewers and mazes were built with moving floors to both confuse them and make them active participants in the work. They disbanded in 1968.