Two Turning Vertical Rectangles (1971) George Rickey

BKOR archive
About the artwork

George Rickey made kinetic art: art with moving parts. No fewer than two of these moving sculptures are located in the center of Rotterdam. The well-known work Two Turning Vertical Rectangles one is on Binnenwegplein. Rickey became fascinated by constructivist sculpture, a movement in which construction plays the leading role. Rickey was also interested in art by De Stijl and the Bauhaus. In the 1950s, these artists made stainless steel constructions, in which flat and linear parts were alternated. In the 1960s, Rickey constructed his images from forms that he repeated over and over. Two Turning Vertical Rectangles consists of two identical solid flat parts and is characteristic of his way of working in the late 1960s. Rickey was asked in 1964 by the Urban Embellishment Commission to design an alternative to the fountain on Hofplein. This construction would be twenty meters high with eight identical moving flat elements, while a kinetic object crowned the whole. It was ultimately not implemented because the new foundation of the fountain would become too expensive. In 1969 he exhibited in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, on which a scale model of this design could be seen. The design was rejected by the Municipal Executive, but the shopkeepers' association Stichting Binnenwegplein decided to offer the city a work of art in 1970 on the occasion of the new Binnenwegplein and Rickey was invited to realize an image. Two Turning Vertical Rectangles was unveiled on May 7 1971. The work has become a beloved eye-catcher on Binnenwegplein, where it temporarily disappeared in 2012 due to the redesign of the square. By raising the new pavement, the statue could not be relocated, because the metal plates could potentially hit people. The windfall on the square was also changed by new high-rise buildings, as a result of which the kinetic work no longer functioned safely. After investigation, the solution was found in raising the post and weighing the blades. Since April 2015, the work can be admired again in the center of the city, but unfortunately for a short duration. At the end of November the wings were seriously damaged by unknown causes and had to be removed again. It is being investigated what happened and whether the sculpture can be restored. For more information: Sculpture International Rotterdam

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About the artist

George Rickey (South Bend, Indiana, 1907 - Saint Paul, Minnesota, 2002) was an American sculptor, known for his kinetic sculptures. He studied in England and Paris and traveled through Europe. Back in the United States, he began to shift his attention from painting to sculpture in the 1950s. He combined his love of technology with cubism and with mobile forms such as van Calder. The metal parts of his images moved with the least movement of the wind. He is considered an important representative of neo-constructivism.

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