Studies of Movement

Many artists including the ones involved in paper art study the movement of different objects to create something known as Kinetic art. It is an art form wherein any moving object is depicted in a manner as it is actually perceivable by the viewer. Its depiction also depends on the motion of that object, for achieving the optimum effect.

The canvas paintings which work as an extension of the viewer’s perspective of a particular artwork and integrate multi- dimensional movement are some of the earliest types of Kinetic art. Putting it more clearly, kinetic art involves a thorough study of the movement of different objects, animals, birds etc. And the result of that study is in the form of three-dimensional figures and sculptures such as birds, which move naturally or via some machine. The moving parts of the artwork are generally powered by an observer, a motor or by wind. This kind of art form includes a various overlapping styles and techniques.

A section of kinetic art also involves something known as virtual movement, or movement like it’s perceived from only certain sections or angles of the work. The term often clashes with ‘apparent movement’, frequently used for referring to any artwork which is moved with the help of electrically powered systems, machines or motors. Both virtual as well as apparent movement are kinetic art forms that have been actively argued as op art styles only recently. There’s not sufficient overlapping between the two to be merged under one roof by the art historians and artists. Nevertheless, the exact distinctions between them are yet to be made very clear.

The term Kinetic art originates from several different sources, with its actual origin being in the 19th century Impressionist artists like Edouard Manet, Edgar Degas and Claude Monet, who were the first few artists to experiment with the accentuation of the moving human figures on a canvas. These three Impressionist painters were the three most important artists of their times who single-mindedly worked towards creation of art that were more lifelike than any of their contemporaries. The racehorse and dancer portraits of Degas are excellent examples of the art form that he liked calling photographic realism. Artists like him felt the dire need of challenging the rapid movement towards photography during the late 19th century period, by creation of cadenced and vivid portraits and landscapes.

During the early 20th century, quite a few artists started working on art forms closely related to dynamic motion. This term was coined by two popular artists of that time including the famous Naum Gabo who frequently wrote about his works being excellent examples of something called kinetic rhythm.