Tom Wilkinson’s kinetic sculptures are investigations into the fabric of our world. He is fascinated by illusion, and how we perceive the physical world in which we find ourselves. One such preoccupation is the illusion that the world is solid – the chair on which you sit is in actual fact a chair-shaped force field, almost complete nothingness, devoid of stuff. This concept is present in his wave pieces: Spirit, Light Wave and the two Fluctus Sine sculptures. From afar they look solid, but on close inspection, one can see both into and through the form. Motion suggests the wave of energy all matter holds, but also it has the property to hold the onlooker’s gaze in a meditative trance. In 1998 Wilkinson began to experiment with spinning lights to produce illusory solid mass, where the traces of spun light produce volumic form. His spinning light series, “Green Ray” and “Let’s Bounce”, were the results. They explore the void at quantum level, with reference to the atom and its field of electrons. These works are also a celebration of scientific enquiry, as they have the presence of laboratory apparatus, and as such, are strongly suggestive of an unfinished journey.
Wilkinson is interested in interpreting science, but also is intrigued with the concepts of scientific discovery and the way it filters into our consciousness. His sculptures Nemorosus Sine Fluctus (2003) and Speculum Sine Fluctus (2003) recently presented by Kinetica in their 2011 Art Fair are, at first, a mixture of simple forms and representations of life-sized everyday domestic objects, but it is not until they are observed that entropy ensues – they disfigure and crumple, only to gradually reform into their original state of solidity and recognition. The ‘memory’ of the material, the crystalline structure of the caste rubber, is also a fragile force, and here, can be observed wrestling with gravity.
In Light Wave Wilkinson investigates the ambiguous nature of matter; the glass appears to be liquid, inviting us to reflect on the paradoxical nature of glass, until recently thought to be a liquid, but now classified as an amorphous solid. The wave that ripples across the surface of Light Wave is a true sine-wave. Gravity and kinetic energy operate in a state of equilibrium so that the blades of glass, weighing a quarter of a ton, can be set in motion by a mere hundred watt motor, the consumption of an average household light-bulb.
View the artist’s website here