05 Mar Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art
Ever since electricity became ubiquitous artists have been fascinated by the manifold possibilities to create works with it. The catalogue Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art, which accompanies the opening exhibition of Kunsthalle Praha, explores how electricity has transformed artistic practice from 1920 to the present day, including cinematography, sound, kinetic and mechanical sculptures, computer-based art and immersive installations. A historical perspective emphasizes the fact that electricity, with its various usages—from artificial light to computing—has become a defining element of our societies.
Kinetismus: 100 Years of Electricity in Art includes an essay by Peter Weibel, the author of the exhibition concept, four thematic chapters written by the co-curator Lívia Nolasco-Rózsás as well as descriptions and reproductions of key artworks by artists, such as Mary Ellen Bute, William Kentridge, Christina Kubish, Zdeněk Pešánek, Anna Ridler, Nicolas Schöffer, Jeffrey Shaw, Takis, Steina, and Woody Vasulka.
February 22–June 20, 2022
The exhibition is also a nod to Czech avant-garde artist and pioneer of kinetic art Zdeněk Pešánek who created a series of allegorical kinetic light sculptures titled 100 Years of Electricity for the façade of the Zenger substation in 1936. The exhibition title also refers to his seminal book Kinetismus which discusses the possibilities offered by the integration of motorised movement and artificial light in art.
Folowing Pešánek’s legacy, this project offers a new model of the evolution of the visual arts in which cinematography leads to kinetic art, followed by cybernetic and computer art, thus revealing the link between moving machines and moving images: electricity.