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Pann 2012 Photo: Danny Birchell

Jetsam 2012 Electric motors, aluminium, feathers 243 x 243 x 61 cm Jetsam 2011 Digital simulation of programming


Pony, 2008. Electric motors, aluminium, feathers, 130 x 114 x 66 cm / 51¼ x 45 x 26 in. ©Tim Lewis, courtesy Flowers, London.

9th -14th April 2012

This exhibition brings together some of Tim Lewis’ most progressive work from the last few years. Culminating in this latest series of kinetic sculptures, these pieces are of his most complex and intricate to date. Lewis’ work continually advances in terms of personal and practical development; works are first envisioned in their entirety and thereafter realised.

The electronic programming and physicality required to animate a piece and fulfil the original design, entails an extensive period of development and discovery for each work. Jetsam takes the form of a large Kiwi-like object whose mechanism is partially visible through an outer shell of wire mesh and a thin coating of feathers, fixed to a large iron robotic arm also constructed by Lewis, bolted to a heavy metal base.

Originally constructed virtually, as a digital simulation, (a new approach for Lewis) Jetsam’s programming can be edited faster digitally as opposed to watching the complete sequence which is over an hour long. Unlike the artist’s other large works Jetsam’s programming revolves around the kiwi’s only vocation; to build a nest. Solely encompassed in its own world it does not react to human interference. However, Jetsam is aware of its position/location within the limit of its circumference which is defined by the radius of the robotic arm. Establishing its coordinates and stumbling across found materials which Jetsam then relocates in a pre-defined spot. Pony has an ostrich-like anatomy constructed from three mechanical arms, as athletically human as they are programmatically robotic. Like Jetsam, Pony appears as less animated object, more independent entity, moving across the floor towing an empty carriage, the ‘ostrich’ is autonomous rather than interactive.

These two works are creatures born of mechanics in the same way that genetics engineers use science. Pann exists as Lewis’ first life size imitation of a human entity but with a mythological reference; Pann has goat-like hooves. Tim Lewis was born in England in 1961 and graduated from the Royal College of Art in London in 1987. He has exhibited internationally and his work is in public collections including the Arts Council of Great Britain, the British Council, and the Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool, England.

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