Sculpture in Motion

In 2008, the Garden showcased fine contemporary art in an extraordinary garden setting with Sculpture in Motion, Art Choreographed by Nature. The most extensive survey of outdoor kinetic art thus far, Sculpture in Motion featured 32 medium and large scale outdoor kinetic sculptures.

Amid lavishly blooming flowers and trees, a collection of extraordinary sculptures came to life at the Garden. Each piece moved by various forces – air currents, water, solar power, sound waves, magnetics, human energy – and formed endless compositions that evoked powerful responses as unique as the artwork itself. Wind-powered kinetic art was mesmerizing, capturing and giving form to breezes that were also made visible in the leaves of nearby trees, yet using gleaming metals instead of foliage. Other forms of moving sculpture, such as liquid magnetics and multi-ton interactives that were able to be manipulated by a toddler, defied imagination and had to be seen to be believed.

The sculptures were produced by 16 artists, some of the most prominent kinetic sculptors working today, most of whom created new work specifically for this show. The connection of the works of art to the environment was unparalleled: most were powered by natural forces, their large scale complemented the spectacular gardens in which they were displayed.

Artists selected for the exhibition worked in many different and often high-tech materials. Tim Prentice and Jeffery Laudenslager worked with super-light metals like titanium, harnessing wind power to create moving geometric forms. American-born David Fried now working in Germany, utilized a proprietary system to capture sound waves and translate them into movement. Japanese artist Sachiko Kodama employed electromagnetics and magnetically-charged microfine particles suspended in oil to create completely original sculptural forms. Zac Coffin's interactive installation tested the limits of the laws of physics with seemingly impossible gravitational situations.

Organized in collaboration with Guest Curator Brigitte Micmacker of Sculpturesite Gallery, San Francisco, Sculpture in Motion was the Garden's first group exhibition. An Exhibition Catalog is still in print and available in the Garden Gift Shop.