“The Dynamic Eye: Beyond Optical and Kinetic Art”: WOW’s first collaboration with Tate
Discover the works of the Tate without going to UK. It sounds impossible, but that’s exactly what the World of Wine (WOW), in Gaia, invites you to do. At the recently-renamed Atkinson Museum, located in the WOW cultural district, the inaugural exhibition of the Tate collection “The Dynamic Eye: Beyond Optical and Kinetic Art” kicked off this month.
On display from July to October 2023, the exhibition features over 100 pieces by 60 artists from around the world associated with optical and kinetic art. The rarely exhibited 100 works are capable of taking each visitor on an authentic journey through the artistic world of the 20th Century, where optical and kinetic arts are the protagonists, revisiting the emergence of these two parallel artistic movements that gained strength during the 1950s and 1960s.
By presenting over one hundred works of art rarely seen, the exhibition takes the viewer on a journey through 20th-Century art. This first survey of optical and kinetic art in Portugal aims to make these artistic movements known to the visitor, as well as approach them as trends explored and worked on by artists from different eras and geographies. Through a selection of paintings, sculptures, works on paper, films and installations, the Atkinson Museum reveals the reach of these movements, transcending the boundaries of a single time or place.
Organised in a non-chronological and non-linear manner, the exhibition narrative is framed around different global centres, where artists who explore optical and kinetic effects converge. Some sections of the exhibition focus on important groups of artists who chose to work together, while others reflect key exhibitions that have influenced the development of optical and kinetic art.
This wide-ranging exhibition brings together names closely linked to these movements, as well as modernist and contemporary predecessors. With a total of 60 artists from around the world, the art show includes works by Victor Vasarely, Julio le Parc, Frank Stella, Lygia Clark, Alexander Calder, Naum Gabo and Liliane Lijn, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Behjat Sadr, Sue Fuller, Fred Eversley e Gego, among others.
Works here featured include recent acquisitions from the Tate Collection, such as Light Room (Jena), by Otto Piene, an evocative and sensory piece that immerses the viewer in a game of light and shadow, and Cybernetic Sculpture: Square, by Wen-Ying Tsai Tops. A pioneer of cybernetic and kinetic art, Tsai’s work echoes the lasting influence of innovations and experiments by optical and kinetic artists. The exhibition also showcases a work by renowned contemporary artist Jim Lambie, whose psychedelic floor occupies the entrance to the Atkinson Museum.
WOW x Tate Between paintings, sculptures, works on paper, and films and installations, this is the exhibition with the largest number of works to travel from the Tate to Portugal. It also marks the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between WOW and one of today’s most renowned international museums.
“Tate is delighted to be working with WOW Cultural District to stage The Dynamic Eye at the Atkinson Museum. WOW’s ambition to create a unique, cultural destination in Porto is a bold and welcome endeavour. The combination of art, culinary delights and a well-curated selection of retail and hospitality, is an important addition to the Portuguese cultural scene”, states Neil McConnon. For the Director of International Partnerships at Tate, “as a new ‘cultural district’ in Porto, WOW encompasses a variety of innovative spaces for local and global audiences. Visitors from established art enthusiasts to families, can relax, be inspired, and immerse themselves in culture, with world-class art, food and drink. WOW is leading the way in Porto, creating a new model of cultural engagement for all. Tate is very pleased to contribute to this mission through our collaboration”.
Andreia Esteves, responsible for the Atkison Museum’s international partnerships, “optics and kinetics demonstrates that art actually needs a viewer and is meant to be touched and shared”. Artists associated with optical and kinetic art see the visitor not as a passive viewer, but as an active participant, who engages with the art in time and space. In their work, they combine simple lines, geometric shapes and eye-catching colours to create optical effects or illusions and their works trigger complex visual sensations, activated by the viewer and sometimes intensified by the inclusion of kinetic pieces that create real or perceptible movement. The pieces challenge perception and encourage the viewer to move through the work, interacting and observing it up close.
The exhibition, which travelled first to the Art Museum of Pudong (MAP) in Shanghai, was conceptualized by Clara Kim, former curator of international art at Tate Modern, and curated by Valentina Ravaglia, head of international art at Tate Modern. “As a cultural district, we want to reinforce this destination as an obligatory and consistent stopping point for international landmark exhibitions. This is just the beginning of a strong and structured strategy that will bring major exhibitions to Gaia and the North of Portugal. Having the pleasure of collaborating with Tate is a great recognition of the work we have been developing”, explains Adrian Bridge, CEO of the WOW Cultural District.
The new Atkinson museum The Atkinson Museum, originally Atkinson House, was built in 1760 and quickly became a centrepiece of the British involvement in the Port Wine trade. Once owned by Robert Atkinson in the late 19th Century and later acquired by The Fladgate Partnership, the centuries-old house has been carefully restored and modernised to international museum standards. Located in the heart of the Cultural District, the Atkinson Museum aims to become an iconic backdrop for hosting exhibitions of international importance.
About Tate Tate’s vision is to serve as one of the UK’s and the world’s artistically adventurous and culturally inclusive art museums. The institution realises this vision through the activities that promotes across its four UK galleries (Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives, Tate Britain and Tate Modern), its digital platforms and collaborations with national and international partners. At the heart of the Tate is its art collection, which includes British art from the 16th Century to the present day and international modern art from the 1900s to the present day.