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Tim Hawkinson in "Time"

Tim Hawkinson tinkers with everyday materials to build surprising mechanical art works. “I guess it comes from early on in childhood, a fascination with moving parts and sort of the magical,” he suggests.

In his studio, Hawkinson explains how he used gears, switches, nozzles, buckets, and pie tins to build a drumming machine that captures random drips of rain, amplifies them, and organizes them into music. “It’s not even electronics. I don’t know what it is,” he admits. One of Hawkinson’s largest projects, Überorgan, is an inflatable installation in a space the size of a football field. For a version of the artwork the artists created a score for the organ using old church hymns.

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Tim Hawkinson

Tim Hawkinson is renowned for creating complex sculptural systems through surprisingly simple means. His installation, Überorgan—a stadium-size, fully automated bagpipe—was pieced together from bits of electrical hardware and several miles of inflated plastic sheeting. The source of inspiration for many of Hawkinson’s pieces has been the re-imagining of his own body, and what it means to make a self-portrait of this new or fictionalized body. In 1997, the artist created an exacting, two-inch-tall skeleton of a bird from his own fingernail parings; believable even at a close distance, this work reveals Hawkinson’s attention to detail as well as his obsession with life, death, and the passage of time.

“In my work, I tried to maintain some of that freshness and keep shifting what it is that I’m looking at to see it differently or creating a different process of looking at something that gives me a new kind of interpretation.”

Tim Hawkinson

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Tim Hawkinson

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Artist Tim Hawkinson discusses his 2002 installation Drip, his 2000 installation Emoter, and the similarities between the two.

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