The M.A.D.Gallery introduces “Dynamic Structures,” a collection of six awe-inspiring pieces by Willem van Weeghel, a Dutch artist known for his modern interpretations of kinetic art. Each animated composition captivates observers as it transforms moving elements into bold patterns teetering in the electric space between order and chaos.
The team at the M.A.D.Gallery is thrilled to house this collection in its Geneva location. “Willem van Weeghel is the epitome of why our gallery exists,” says Max Büsser, founder of the M.A.D.Gallery and kinetic art enthusiast. “Willem's work is not only visually mesmerizing: most visitors, me included, are constantly wondering how it works. Outside-the-box creativity, enormous talent, state-of-the-art engineering, thousands of hours of skilled work, and at the end a pure object of beauty.”
Located in the Netherlands, van Weeghel’s studio is a cross between a steel workshop and a museum. The atelier is filled with tools, welding machines, paint, and fine works of art displayed on the walls. It is here, in his dream workshop, where the magic of kinetic art takes place.
It all starts with an image in his head. “First, I have the idea in my mind and I make a simple drawing – I have a lot of sketchbooks – just to remember the thought or idea. Usually, the good ideas pop back in my mind all the time even after a couple months. If that is the case, I take that idea and try to build or evaluate it,” the artist explains. Van Weeghel fleshes his ideas out in computer animation to test all the possible movements. If successful, it is then constructed in a 3D computer-aided drafting (CAD) program.
At the same time, van Weeghel develops the computer software program that coordinates the movement between all the elements. The focus of van Weeghel’s work is the everchanging, fluid motion in his compositions. “I always work from the front. I have an idea of what the spectator should see or should feel with the piece and then I try to achieve it with technical means,” van Weeghel describes his method.
It is essential that the technical side is 100% reliable to make sure everything works properly in balance with the front and the back. A self-taught expert, van Weeghel spends countless hours building and testing the software in order to create an optically alluring formation for the composition.
The works start to come to life once they are constructed in the studio. Van Weeghel’s skilled craftsmanship pours into each and every detail of the piece, from welding the moving components to hand-painting the canvas and assembling the technical components.
Movement takes centre stage in every creation. Using a subtle palette of colours and shapes, van Weeghel further emphasizes the importance of motion in the continually evolving scene. Hidden from the observer, integrated into the back of the art, is a computer system programmed to operate sophisticated machinery. Using this technology, van Weeghel choreographs a dynamic dance with objects forming geometric patterns that constantly change at a variety of speeds, methodically created with precision, each work operating in complete silence.
Visually impressive at a size measuring 154 x 154 x 16.6 cm, “Dynamic Structure 171113” strikes a contrast of ebony-colored shapes against a hand-painted white canvas. Adding to the visual experience is the seamless movement of eight identical elements shaped at right angles and lines that perpetually shift position by rotating on four points. Each point has two axes, allowing the objects to move independently from each other in two directions and at a variety of speeds. It is easy to marvel at this dynamic work as patterns endlessly form and dissolve right before your eyes.
Changing to a blue hue, “Dynamic Structure 61114 B” sees the canvas filled with six T-shaped elements in bright cobalt rotating across a deep navy-blue background. The fluid movement of this composition along with the brilliant use of color evokes the characteristics of a kaleidoscope – only enlarged to a 120 square-centimeter canvas. Time seems to stand still when observing the endless geometric patterns unfold in this work of art.
“Dynamic Structure 6618” is a kinetic work combining two circles in red and two circles in black slowly traveling across a stark white canvas in coordinated sequences, sometimes slowly then again quickly. The complementary pairs of elements move independently of each other and different speeds may be chosen. All components are hand-painted using acrylic and assembled by van Weeghel. Similarly, “Dynamic Structure 10718” features yellow squares with triangles in black, while “Dynamic Structure 12718” consists of two solid-blue triangles harmonizing with a pair of open squares. Each of these three works measures 85 x 125 x 11 cm and can be displayed together as a triptych or individually.
The “Dynamic Structures” collection is an ideal representation of van Weeghel’s hypnotic powers of kinetic art as they attempt to visualize the passage of time with the motion of the element, almost as though the hands of a clock. Each sculpture is limited to five pieces and signed on the back.
During van Weeghel’s studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Amersfoort, Netherlands, he created a wall piece for an assignment. As he was organizing the pieces in order to find the best composition, he had an epiphany: “It would be great if all the pieces actually moved through all the positions.” This was his first piece of kinetic art. Van Weeghel was struck by the symbiosis between art and technology and decided to become a professional artist. He carved his niche for kinetic art and has never looked back. Along his journey as a professional artist, van Weeghel has used his workshop and technical equipment to his advantage by starting a successful business producing stainless steel products, carrying out welding work, and cleaning machinery. This company allowed him to continue creating art in between commissions. In 2016, he sold the business in order to follow his passion and continue creating kinetic art full time.
Today, at 62 years old, van Weeghel’s dedication to his work is stronger than ever. His pieces have been sold to private collectors and can be found in museum installations and public spaces from hospitals to corporate offices across the Netherlands and in galleries around the world. His work has also been featured at art fairs such as Art Miami, the internationally recognized show focused on modern and contemporary art. Currently, van Weeghel is working on his biggest challenge yet: creating a completely self-learning automated system to operate his kinetic compositions.