Screw Mobile
© The Estate of Kenneth Martin

Reference URL

Screw Mobile 1959
Kenneth Martin’s series of ‘Screw Mobile’ works, developed from 1953, incorporate a vertical rod with bars attached to it at regular intervals. The distance between the bars was determined by a system called the Fibonacci sequence. This is a pattern found in nature, where each number is the sum of the previous two. It has been used by artists for many years to determine proportions, and was of particular interest to Constructivist artists. Martin wrote that a mobile ‘can enliven our consciousness of environment, moving as it does in our space and casting its moving shadow.’ As the mobile rotates, the optical movements which occur as a result of flickering shadows and light reflecting off the polished surface, are similar to those achieved by Kinetic Artists such as Bridget Riley.

Glossary Open

Constructivism

A geometric, abstract style founded in the early twentieth century in Russia by Vladimir Tatlin. The movement reflected the machine age through its use of new technology and materials and applied its theories to architecture and design as well as fine art. Exiled artists such as Naum Gabo helped to spread the Constructivist ideas. ‘Constructionist’ and ‘constructed abstract art’ are also terms used to describe work relating to these ideas.

Fibonacci Sequence

Named after the Italian mathematician Leonardo Fibonacci, the Fibonacci sequence is an infinite series of numbers beginning 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. In other words, each number is the sum of the two numbers before it. The Fibonacci series appears in nature. For example, it determines the patterning of tree branches, the arrangement of petals on flowers and the spirals on sea shells. It has also been used by artists to determine proportions and measurements.

Kinetic art

Artworks with moving components or art that gives the impression of movement through optical effects, as with some examples of Op Art.

Constructivism, Fibonacci Sequence, Kinetic art

Details

  • Acc. No. GMA 1590
  • Medium Phosphor bronze
  • Size 62.50 x 56.00 x 56.00 cm
  • Credit Presented by the Executors of Mr Ashley Havinden 1976