| Poetics of Motion
- Possibility of Ahn, Soo Jin's Kinetic Sculpture -
One of the greatest Kinetic sculptor of this century Jean Tinguely once said: "For me,
the machine is above all an instrument that permits me to be poetic. If you respect the machine, if you enter into a game with the machine, then perhaps you can make a truly joyous machine - by joyous, 1 mean free," He was the artist who made the work Homage to New York in 1960 with various materials and junks, which was planned to be
destroyed of itself after moving about some thirty minutes. This extremely nonsensical work of self-destruction seemed to be an absurd drama deriding machine and mechanical civilization itself. Art seems to be a mere useless surplus product of the age, and above all where does Kinetic Art representing the mechanical aesthetics of industrial society stand? Tinguely, in a way, spoke as if it would be possible to enjoy freedom through art, but in another way, he suddenly ridiculed it with all his might. As we have seen in the demonic contract of Dr. Faustus and Mephistopheles, also the
promise of mechanical aesthetics requires the partner to pay a high price for the mutual contract. We know it too well that material affluence and unlimited power over nature which mechanical civilization promised did result in unbearable pain before the promise was yet fulfilled. We start to look at Ahn Soo Jin's works from this trifling point of view.
Mechanization and Artistic Sensibility
As the word'Kinetic Art'comes from the Greek, kine'sis and kinetikos implying movement and mobility, it means art which involves movement in itself. This kind of art involves two categories, mainly of the precise sense in which there is speciflc quality of actual movement, and of non-representational art comprising an impression or appearance of moving through visual manipulation. Specifically, as the latter which is called Op Art seems to have been deeply reduced into the fleld of abstract art, we now usually refer to that term as works using the parameters of real time and motion.
This can be classifled into two categories: one is the art in which there is movement without mechanical means or power-driven equipments such as in the case of Alexander Calder and Jesus Soto, and the other literally with mechanical power such as electrical motor.
Kinetic Art in fact sprouted with the following statement of the fifth fundamental principle of The Realistic Manifesto made by Naum Gabo and Antoine Pevsner in Moscow 1920. "We renounce the thousand-year-old delusion in art that held the static rhythms as the only elements of the plastic and pictorial arts. We affirm in these arts a new element, the kinetic rhythms, as the basic forms of our perception of real time." Quite different from this kind of attempt, Marcel Duchamp earlier showed a work named Mobile in 1913 with the readymade of bicyle wheel on a stool, which was a reactionary Dadaist response toward conventional art system. ,
It is quite certain that we cannot omit the important roles of Futurists and Russian Constructivists who presented notable avantgarde thoughts in applying the concept of motion to art during that period. For example, the Italian poet F.T. Marinetti, the actual head of the Futurists, declared that "the world's magnificence has been enriched by a new beauty; the beauty of speed." He might well have seen rich artistic illusion of his age in mechanical motion of motor car. In the mean 'time, In 1920 Vladimir Tatlin, who was so optimistic about the new future of Russia after the Revolution, presented the miniature model of Monument for the
Third International with unprecedented architectural scale and mechanical movement as the symbol of Zeitgeist. This complex tower was to be constructed in the form of a massive spiral which efficaciously conveyed the dynamism of the age. Inside the structure, would hang a cylinder, a cube and a sphere containing meeting h.311s, offices and, at the very top, an information center - all revolving at different rates of speed by special power transmission facility. Although Tatlin's tower was a stupendous declaration of faith in a communist society, it failed to be built due to Russia's poor economic condition but for a large wooden model, However, it was to be judged greatly in the future because of his highly intuitive intention to combine artistic and utilitarian form, and applying dynamics of time to mechanical motion.
Poetics of Movement, or Equivalence of Consciousness
Ahn Soo Jin is an artist dreaming of the happy combination of machine
and art. He has tried in every way to eliminate the antagonism existing
between art and machine, and to realize artistic sensibility through mechanical
motion. He thus has sometimes shown us
Kinetic art is in fact an art recognizing the laws of nature and responding
to various movements of this world. There is an acknowledgement that nature
does not stand still and a visualization of artistic response to it here.
This is, in another way, a t'ranformation of inspection of nature into
Machine is not the marvelous origin of energy as we might
think. In another sense, it is not the tactless object of slavery operated
untiringly with switch on. It unexpectedly reflects human appearance and
consciousness. Furthermore, it shows its close relatedness with nature.
As this is the case, Kinetic Art applying machinery belongs to human activity
containing artistic tnlth. Ahn Soo Jin's quest for physical and psychological
process through mechanical motion, is in fact determined by human and
natural condition. It is in this way that he refrains from being confined
to Mephistopheles's contract of mechanical aesthetics. When we look into
his poetics of motion and feel delighted by it, we become very happy viewers.
It is because he is an artist dreaming of another future which is quite
impossible to imagine for the present. ¡á