Kinetic art 1920 – …

Term applied to works of art concerned with real and apparent movement It may encompass machines, mobiles and light objects in actual motion; more broadly, it also includes works in virtual or apparent movement, which could be placed under the denomination of Op Art Kinetic art originated between 1913 and 1920, when a few isolated figures such as Marcel Duchamp, Vladimir Tatlin and Naum Gabo conceived their first works and statements to lay stress on mechanical movement At about the same time Tatlin, Aleksandr Rodchenko and Man Ray constructed their first mobiles, and Thomas Wilfred and Adrian Bernard Klein, with Ludwig Hirschfeld-Mack and Kurt Schwerdtfeger at the Bauhaus, began to develop their colour organs and projection techniques in the direction of an art medium consisting of light and movement (1921–3) Although László Moholy-Nagy and Alexander Calder pursued more or less continuous artistic research into actual motion in the 1920s and 1930s, it was only after 1950 that the breakthrough into kinetic art, and its subsequent expansion, finally took place

Kinetic art is art from any medium that contains movement perceivable by the viewer or depends on motion for its effect Canvas paintings that extend the viewer’s perspective of the artwork and incorporate multidimensional movement are the earliest examples of kinetic art More pertinently speaking, kinetic art is a term that today most often refers to three-dimensional sculptures and figures such as mobiles that move naturally or are machine operated The moving parts are generally powered by wind, a motor or the observer Kinetic art encompasses a wide variety of overlapping techniques and styles

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There is also a portion of kinetic art that includes virtual movement, or rather movement perceived from only certain angles or sections of the work This term also clashes frequently with the term “apparent movement”, which many people use when referring to an artwork whose movement is created by motors, machines, or electrically powered systems Both apparent and virtual movement are styles of kinetic art that only recently have been argued as styles of op art The amount of overlap between kinetic and op art is not significant enough for artists and art historians to consider merging the two styles under one umbrella term, but there are distinctions that have yet to be made

“Kinetic art” as a moniker developed from a number of sources Kinetic art has its origins in the late 19th century impressionist artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Édouard Manet who originally experimented with accentuating the movement of human figures on canvas This triumvirate of impressionist painters all sought to create art that was more lifelike than their contemporaries Degas’ dancer and racehorse portraits are examples of what he believed to be “photographic realism”; artists such as Degas in the late 19th century felt the need to challenge the movement toward photography with vivid, cadenced landscapes and portraits

By the early 1900s, certain artists grew closer and closer to ascribing their art to dynamic motion Naum Gabo, one of the two artists attributed to naming this style, wrote frequently about his work as examples of “kinetic rhythm” He felt that his moving sculpture Kinetic Construction (also dubbed Standing Wave, 1919–20) was the first of its kind in the 20th century From the 1920s until the 1960s, the style of kinetic art was reshaped by a number of other artists who experimented with mobiles and new forms of sculpture