I make work among a collection of other artists worldwide that create kinetic pieces with similar themes of surprise, play and emotional connection. Artists whom I have particularly responded to are Gary Schott, Dukno Yoon and most recently Nhat-Vu Dang.
Gary Schott speaks emphatically of his desire to exhibit simple mechanisms rather than utilize automated movement. His aim is to present understandable machines that the viewer can physically engage with, and which will inspire an emotional connection.[i] Dukno Yoon Suspended Wings series spanning 2002-2004 are beautifully delicate.[ii] While Suspended Wings are seemingly fragile, with forms that appear in opposition the Schott’s robust pieces, Yoon, like Schott, exposes the mechanisms of movement in his pieces. This exposure of mechanisms exhibits movement that is surprising without secrecy. In contrast to the accessibility of Schott and Yoon’s visible mechanics, Nhat-Vu Dang utilizes hidden mechanisms to surprise his wearers.[iii]
Most work displayed here has been made with base metals, occasionally additional materials have been used such as silver, threads, cords, latex and wood. The techniques used in these works are predominantly hand worked with tools: saw piercing, soldering, riveting, doming and hammer forming. Where required, larger machinery is used to prepare forms: hydraulic pressing, pressing through roller mills, batch sanding with various linishers, guillotine cutting and lathe turning. Both chemicals and heat treatments have been used to colour and texture metals. Increasingly I am interested in the digital possibilities for my jewellery making practice. My work is usually so embedded in the materiality of the pieces, their weight, movement and textures, that to cut away the ‘real’ and explore jewellery in the virtual is to me an avenue for distilling out the ideas of jewellery, its significance in our minds eye.
Some works in this online collection do not involve touch activated ‘kinetic’ mechanisms, however they nevertheless require human interaction to fully reveal their materiality. Early works such as Water Ways (2011) require draping across the chest to appreciate both the sounds of the clinking copper plates and the segmented movement of the piece as a single, flowing form. A more recent non-kinetic piece, Wealthy (2013), was produced through digital manipulation of photographs. This work steps radically away from the core themes of my work (play, surprise, physical mechanisms) in to a questioning of jewellery’s historic and contemporary symbolic significance.
By continuing an exploration of jewellery’s embedded symbolic significance I look forward to developing layers of meaning in my work. I hope to produce objects that connect with the wearer in multiple ways. I see objects as having a poetic potential to mean open as many questions as answers.
My practice stems from an interest in objects that create an experience. The aim with each work is to devise something that provokes pause, a double take, and touch. I am particularly interested in the activity of play and the emotional responses it causes.
Predominantly each work involves kinetic movement. From an early age my own experience of making was one of agency. Each act of creation was a battle to replicate what I had imagined was possible. Often a sense of accomplishment washed over me when I finally made it ‘work’, and the proof of function was usually some kind of mechanical movement – an almost Frankenstein-esque “It’s alive!” moment if you will. This sense of empowerment and capability was incredible in its simplicity: I was able to stimulate it purely with scissors, paper and sticky-tape. Although the tools and materials may have changed, it is the empowering act of creation that I not only continue to seek for myself – but also hope to provoke in my audiences. By using visible and understandable mechanisms (for example a hinge – simple and easy to understand) I invite the wearers of my work to not only play with the pieces, but understand how they are moving. I hope to produce jewellery that is as surprising and enjoyable as it is simple and accessible.
Judith Torzillo is completing an undergraduate degree in Jewellery and Object at the Sydney College of Art in Sydney, Australia.
With a keen interest in kinetic art, Judith's work aims to inspire touch and interaction.
These pieces all attempt to engage an object's potential for poetry, especially when placed on the body.