Tinguely (1925–1991) was a Swiss artist best known for his sculptural machines he called ‘Metamechanics’. His position in art history came after the dada movement to make pioneering moving sculptures in a modernist arena. Though his works were deliberately useless his free wheeling innovations inspired many artists to come.
Arthur Ganson (b.1955) was one of those inspired by Tinguely to make complex and refined yet ambiguous mechanical sculptures.
Michael Landy (b.1963) upon visiting a Tinguely exhibition in London whilst still a teenager inspired a career making art. He later produced a book of drawings of Tinguely’s sculptures, a testimony to his appreciation of the mechanics and forms.
Ganson is a wonderful artist who, for one reason or another, hasn’t been fully recognised by the art world despite the many exhibitions and articles written about his work. Gansons artwork may not lend itself to todays social media (one image per second) platforms, but given a little more time I think these intricate and witty mechanical gestures have a lot to offer.
Each of the works made over the last 40 years or so have a contained purpose, a beautiful economy of mechanical movement which isn’t hidden away but is intentionally on view as part of the sculpture. Each of the works retain an open ended interpretation, despite their precise engineering, so they can be viewed again and again with new eyes.
Ganson’s work has been an inspiration to my ventures making mechanical artworks which is why I wanted to share some of my favourites here. The following film shows four different artworks :
1. ‘Thinking Chair’ – a chair goes for stroll
2. “Machine with oil” – a machine that bathes itself in oil
3. “Machine with Chair” – a chair doing cartwheels
4. “Machine with Concrete” – reduction gears that will take millions of years to move the concrete block
Many are familiar with the idea of magnetic poles flipping every 200,000 years or more. Evidence for this was found in the 1960’s when scans by aircraft looking for submarines showed some strange anomalies in the strength of the magnetic field at different locations. It was later realised that basalt, a volcanic rock containing magnetite, fixes the current magnetic orientation of the earth’s magnetic field as it cools down. The younger the rock the closer it aligns to the current magnetic north, older basalt rock shows evidence of previous magnetic fields and that the magnetic poles flip so north becomes south. This can be seen when taking magnetic readings of the basalt rock emanating from the mid Atlantic ridge where the tectonic plates are being forced apart as volcanic rock pushes up from the upper mantle. The process of millions of years of new rock being pushed out, like the rings of a cut tree, show lines indicating different polarities of earths history. The image below shows the magnetic striping of the sea bed of the mid Atlantic ridge, the darker tone, the closer it is to out current North / South orientation, the lighter tone shows the opposite polarity. In effect the sea bed is like a tape recording of the earths magnetic past, as the theory was accepted a new area of plate tectonics was born called Magnetostratigraphy.
different magnetic fields emanating from the mid Atlantic ridge
Further anomaly’s have since been mapped by NOAA, this image shows more subtle variations in the earths magnetic field strength.