Kinetics: An International Survey of Kinetic Art

Hayward Gallery

Hayward Gallery, 25 September – 22 November 1970

This large-scale international exhibition of kinetic art was selected by the architect and designer Theo Crosby, a founding partner of legendary design firm Pentagram. It featured the work of 68 artists, including Alexander Calder, Liliane Lijn, Nam June Paik and Jean Tinguely.

Among this selection were established artists – or, as Crosby describes them, ‘the heroic figures of the post-war resurgence of kinetic art’ – as well as younger, emerging artists – including Stephen Willats – who were commissioned to make new works.

In his introduction to the exhibition’s catalogue, Crosby states that ‘early definitions of kinetics included what is now called Op art, transformables, Light art, Cyborg art ... inflatables, happenings and performances. Many of the artists shown here do some or all of those things, and there is enough material in each category to fill the Hayward many times over.’

In light of the category’s breadth, Crosby focused on mechanical art.

The exhibition also included a section curated by Caroline Tisdall, which covered the history of kinetic art.

Barry Martin's Moving Sculpture (1969-70) was exhibited on one of the sculpture courts.

Outside the gallery flew a succession of large wind socks by artist Otto Piene. These items, which started out white or red, were quickly sullied by London’s pollution.

Over 120,000 visitors attended the Kinetics exhibition. One reviewer described it as ‘...probably the most spectacular exhibition ever mounted by the Arts Council’, while another declared that it had ‘all the fun of the fair’, with ‘much to entertain and excite.’

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