- Leonardo Network News
The Newsletter of the International Society for the Arts, Sciences and Technology and of l'Observatoire Leonardo des Arts et Technosciences
Abraham Palatnik Receives 2005 Leonardo Lifetime Achievement Award
When kinetic artist and astronautical pioneer Frank J. Malina founded the journal Leonardo in 1968, he saw the need for an international channel of communication between artists who use science and developing technologies in their work. Reflecting his vision, the Frank J. Malina Leonardo Award for Lifetime Achievement recognizes eminent artists who, through a lifetime of work, have achieved a synthesis of contemporary art, science and technology. Winners include Gyorgy Kepes, Nicolas Schöffer, Max Bill and Takis. Adding to this distinguished list of artists, Leonardo/ISAST is pleased to announce Abraham Palatnik as the recipient of the 2005 Leonardo Lifetime Achievement Award.
Abraham Palatnik was born in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, in 1928. Palatnik received his primary and secondary schooling in Palestine, now Israel. He went on to take courses in mechanics and physics and specialized in internal-combustion engines. He had been drawing since early childhood and spent four years at an atelier studying drawing, painting and aesthetics. Palatnik returned to Brazil in early 1948 and settled in Rio de Janeiro, where he met art critic Mario Pedrosa, whose interest in psychology of form and Gestalt theory was one of the biggest influences on Palatnik's work. This influence led Palatnik to abandon traditional forms and begin developing his own innovative research in motorized light and color devices, which Pedrosa later dubbed "cinechromatic" devices. In 1951, Palatnik's first cinechromatic device, "Azul e Roxo em Primeiro Movimento" (Blue and Purple in First Movement) received a "Special Mention" at the First International Biennial in São Paulo. Palatnik eventually went on to show these works in the 1955, 1957, 1959, 1961 and 1965 São Paulo Biennials as well as the Venice Biennial in 1964. During the 1960s, Palatnik started to produce art machines in which color pieces moved unexpectedly and harmonically as parts of a complex system of motors and gears. In 1964 he began to work on "kinetic objects" that differed slightly from the cinechromatic machines in that the mechanical equipment became more visible. They consisted of metal rods or wires attached to wooden disks in several colors and shapes that were slowly and silently rotated by motors, or in some cases electromagnets. As an artist-turned-inventor, Palatnik also designed and patented several pieces of industrial equipment, games and a "rotating object" that animates the properties of Newtonian physics through its curious interaction with gravity. Palatnik's work has always suggested the possibility of creative and productive exchange between art, science, technology and industry and has engaged intuition and pragmatism in equal parts. He still lives in Rio de Janeiro and continues to exhibit and receive major recognition in Brazil. The first book about his work, Abraham Palatnik, has been published: <http://www.cosacnaify.com.br/loja/detalhes.asp?codigo_produto=570&language=pt&showPromo=False>.
The 2005 Leonardo Global Crossings Award
Leonardo/ISAST is pleased to announce that the First Leonardo Global Crossings Prize has been awarded to Abdel Ghany Kenawy and Amal Kenawy, of Cairo, Egypt, a brother-sister team who have been collaborating on large-scale installations since 1997. These works demonstrate that there is no "natural" barrier between the worlds of art and science.
The Kewanys' unique collaboration is built partially upon Abdel Ghany's background in the physical sciences and Amal's background in filmmaking. Committed to their creative processes, they work very closely together on every aspect of their projects from conceptualization and structural design to production and execution in their workshop. Characteristic of all their projects is the power of texture and image, and sensorial play with surfaces between spaces (loosening up the inside/outside polarity)—whether it is a "textured" video, the texture of light projected on a triple screen of chiffon, the texture of human hair bows on a pair of wax legs in a display case, or the textures (acoustic and visual) of a beating heart on which a pair of lace-gloved hands is sewing a white...