Desiring Machines offers a refreshing perspective on kinetic sculpture with a visual experience blending art and engineering. Each Machine performs a unique and choreographed series of movements and gestures mimicking life and exploring the human condition. Over approximately 80 seconds, the animated visual spectacle captivates audiences and imparts a unique meaning for each observer.
This powerful collection from Demirtas’s includes the Desiring Machine, a mechanical sculpture featuring a small child standing on a pedestal in a restless stance with folded arms across its chest firmly hitting the wall behind with its back, over and over again. The performance powerfully encapsulates childhood uncertainty and frustration, striking a visual balance between the lifelike features captured in the child’s face and the actions performed by the unconcealed mechanics of this 150- centimetre piece (five feet). Another piece in the collection, Contemplating Woman’s Machine II, stands nearly the same height and features a poised woman with her head resting on her knees and her arms wrapped around her legs. Her tender, slow motion movements suggest a private moment of contemplation.
A closer look at the artworks reveals the artistic contrast of the anthropomorphic structures, which are woven with wires and cables connecting the precision mechanics powering the kinetic sculptures. Combining his engineering skills with his imagination, Demirtas’s talent lies in conceiving, designing and handcrafting the components and mechanisms that power and animate his mechanical sculptures.
Although the works have a robotic appearance, Demirtas’s mechanical sculptures are not machines intended to carry out a given task, but to incite consciousness and contemplation of the human condition. “One can easily achieve competence in recreating human actions mechanically, but the real difficulty is in using mechanics to relate to the inner state” the artist explains.
Another contemporary artwork by Demirtas is the Purple Flower of the Machine, which brings together mechanical aesthetics with conceptual kinetic art. A robotic branch extends outward, inviting the observer to breathe in the scent of a beautiful orchid, creating a new kind of relationship between man and machine. Another artwork in the exhibition is Hand on the Shoulder, an apparently innate marble-like statue that breathes in and out with a natural rhythm. Finally, Playground II is an interactive sculpture with a mechanism enticing observers to create private musical experiences.