Art Market Blog – The Genius of Tim Hawkinson
I went to the Sydney Museum of Contemporary art to see the new Tim Hawkinson exhibition which was absolutely incredible. My favourite work in the show was Drip 2002 which is a highly sophisticated sculptural machine that drips water onto disposable metal trays at varying intervals creating a percussive drumming sound. The drips disperse from the tentacle like structures of an organic looking mass made out of clingwrap that looks to me like a giant jellyfish. The way the machine works is really quite complex so instead of me trying to explain it I will let you read this explanation by the man himself from an interview he did for PBS:
“I was interested in making something that would create this really rhythmic sound pattern. I downloaded a drumming machine on my computer and I was trying to figure out how I could get something that would generate these random patterns but would still have this choreographed sound to it. And so it’s taking random patterns off of the gears and then those are being chopped up. This turns around and every time it hits this metallic strip it closes this circuit. One of these little wires sending a signal from the gear will get triggered through that. And this is just a way of lining all the signals up so that they all occur at the same time within. I mean it’s spinning really rapidly, so it’s all within a split second. Otherwise it sounds really chaotic and this way it’s um, more synchronized”
What is immediately apparent about this work is that it is un-necessarily complex considering the relatively simple task that it performs, but once you have seen the machine in action you soon realise that the process is more important than the result. Another thing that struck me about Drip 2002 is it’s fragility and roughness. Blobs of glue, dodgy looking wiring and roughly hacked bits of plastic hold together the various components which I think adds character to the work and highlights the fact that it is hand made and is a one off. It is remarkable though that such a complex and fragile machine can continue to work time after time.
The complexity and ingenuity of many of the works that Hawkinson creates could only have been created by a true genius which Hawkinson definitely is. He is represented by Pace Wildenstein gallery which is one of the most prestigious galleries in the world (rightly so) and has had his work exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Massechusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, the Whitney Biennial and others. If Hawkinson keeps producing work as exciting, engrossing, engaging and innovative as what he has been then I have no doubt that he will be one of the most desirable and sought after artists in the years to come.
You can see more of the works in the exhibition here
**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of artmarketblog.com, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.