Kinetic Art: Willem van Weeghel

Published:  January 27, 2011
Alison Copley
Kinetic Art: Willem van Weeghel

Drawing his inspiration from schools of blinking fish, clouds of birds and sunlight through a tree, Dutch artist, Willem van Weeghel, is known for his mesmerising kinetic works of art. He cites movement as the central means of expression in his work – with his structures moving between “the transitional area between chaos and order, between variability and uniformity, between volatility and consistency.”

I sat down with Willem to find out the process that he goes through to create an artwork, what drew him to the medium and where we can view his beautiful artworks.

Kinetic art

Kinetic art

Willem, can you give us a brief background into how you ventured into creating kinetic art?
I made my first kinetic object during my education on the academy of fine arts. For my graduation I specialised in kinetic objects. Once I was making a sculpture based on a serial use of the same elements. While I was searching for an interesting composition by moving these elements by hand I could not chose one constellation because a lot of compositions were possible. Then I decided to let these elements move and constructed a machine to do this. From there on my journey started…

What do you love about the medium?
I like the medium because it is a combination and result of many disciplines. A lot of knowledge and know-how in many different fields is necessary. Sometimes I am a designer, than again a choreographer, a 3D CAD designer, technical engineer, welder, computer programmer in the end kinetic artist. Another important aspect is the challenge to create in reality what is in my mind. Although I start with an artistic idea of what should be seen and what could be experienced, the technical realisation is very important. But techniques are only a mean to realise what I would like to happen. It is never shown. This material realisation and presence in space is important. On a screen you can do anything without limits. I try to find out were the limits in material realisation are and try to move them constantly.

Kinetic art

Kinetic art

Can you detail the process that you go through when creating an artwork?
My kinetic objects are the result of a continuous stream of ideas. I make small sketches of my ideas in a small book that I always carry with me. When an idea keeps on popping up in my head I start to make 3D computer animations like sketches. I try to find out what the possibilities for movements are and what they can bring. If an idea proves to be a good one I decide to realise it. Next step is to create a fully detailed 3D CAD model. This model is used for the production of all the components of the kinetic object. Then I can start to build the object and do a lot of testing. Usually still a lot of technical issues have to be solved in this stage. The development of the software that controls all the motors and the entire system is the final part and takes a lot of the total time. Within this program I write the choreography for the moving elements of the object.

Kinetic Art – Dynamic Structure 1586 from Willem van Weeghel on Vimeo.

What are some of the biggest challenges that you face when conceptualising or creating an artwork?
The biggest challenge would be to make the kinetic object self thinking, to make it alive, as an autonomic creature.

Can you tell us about the project, ‘Kinetic Art – Dynamic Structure 29117’? (see video at the end of the post)
I have made quite a few comparable objects with moving lines. DS 29117 is a summary of the ones I made before. It can do more itself and has much more possibilities than the earlier one together.

Kinetic art

Kinetic art

Kinetic art

Where can we see your work?
At this moment I am preparing an exhibition, so all the newest works are in my studio. Further on my work can be seen in hospitals, entrance halls of larger companies, waiting rooms, offices and schools.

What other types of projects do you work on?
I just started a project for the entrance hall of a new school. It is a large triptych, and has moving elements that change in color. Here I found a new challenge: integrating movement and light in a kinetic object. The three panels are located at different positions in the entrance hall but in their movements and color they are related to each other. The work interacts with its environment. If it is quiet in the hall the object is quiet as well, if it’s busy in the hall its getting busy itself as well.

Kinetic art

Who/where do you draw inspiration from?
Waves on a shore, schools of blinking fish, a big cloud of birds, sunlight through the leaves of a tree, everything around us is always moving. That is my inspiration.

What can we expect from you next?
I’m working on a kinetic sculpture and a large object with shifting squares and a kinetic object with 36 free in space hanging tube, by the end of the year you can see them on my site.

View one of Willem’s creations, Dynamic Structure 29117 below:

Kinetic Art – Dynamic Structure 29117 from Willem van Weeghel on Vimeo.

To read more about Willem, head to his website…

All images copyright Willem van Weeghel.

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