What is Kinetic Art? What is Kinetic Sculpture?
Kinetic art is any art form that involves motion. This includes many styles and infinite possibilities.

One of the most well known kinetic art forms is the mobile, which is a hanging sculpture made up of various balancing elements. They may be very simple in design, or be very large and complex, made up of many hundreds of individual parts. Some larger mobiles may show little movement, but most will move and change positions continuously in the slightest breeze.
Click here for a mobile photograph.


Another well known form of kinetic art is the rolling ball machine or "kugelbahn." This is a sculpture that has a ball (or balls) that follow a track or pathways by either the force of gravity alone or with the addition of motorized devices to perpetuate the motion of the ball. These sculptures have many possibilities for stunts or activities during the course of it's path, and may include musical chimes, loop the loop, switches for alternate paths, multiple ball activity, jumps, stairs, spiral tracks, elevators, descalators, spinners, baskeball hoop jumps, etc.
Click here for a rolling ball machine photograph. (Video also)

The stabile is a floor based version of the mobile. This can include many of the same forms, but has it's support structure sitting on the floor, ground, or a table top instead of hanging from a point above. The movable kinetic elements are balanced on this support structure.
Click here for a stabile photograph.

Magnetic art is a form of kinetic art with many variations. Some involve suspended high powered magnets, and others may invite the viewer to participate in the artwork by altering the positioning of elements that are movable because they are only held in place by magnetic force. The use of high powered magnets can also present a situation that appears impossible or improbable to the viewer.
Click here for a magnetic art sculpture photograph.

Musical art is a very interesting kinetic art form. This is often expressed as a sculpture or piece of functional art that has some sort of musical qualities that the viewer may interact with. This may be a feature of a rolling ball machine sculpture or other art form as well. Wind chimes could also be classified here, and are probably the most popular musical art form.
Click here for a musical art sculpture photograph. (Video also)


Interactive art is general term describing viewer participation with an art form. This does not necessarily make the art kinetic, like in the case of a drawing at an art gallery where the viewer is requested to add a comment or something.
Click here for an interactive art sculpture photograph. (Video also)


Performance art is a form of artistic expression involving an audience. The audience may or may not participate in the performance. A fantastic example of kinetic performance art would be the amazing production of a complex Rube Goldberg type contraption brought to life by the artist team Fischli and Weiss. Their performances include chemical reactions, explosions, and many involved and complex methods of continuing a kinetic path of activity. Their incredible video "The Way Things Go" is available by following the link here.
Click here for more information on Peter Fischli and David Weiss. (Video available)


Large scale kinetic sculpture is represented here by one of the pioneers in that art form, Jean Tinguely. His large scale outdoor kinetic sculpture Eureka has been an inspiration to many kinetic artists over the years.
Click here to see a large scale kinetic sculpture by Jean Tinguely.
Back to Kinetic- Artist.com