Reconstruction of Proto-Tensegrity Sculpture by Karlis Johansons
With this project I aimed to draw attention to the remarkable heritage of Karlis Johansons and help people to learn about his design. I reconstructed the sculpture based on the photos of the original and filmed the reconstruction process on video. My photographs show a reconstructed Karlis Johansons sculpture. I chose to use steel cables, because they were used in the original design. The purpose of the video is to give a visual guide and learning material on how to build the sculpture.
Karlis Johansons is an inventor of self-tensioned kinetic sculptures. Even if previously rarely acknowledged by art historians the work of Karlis Johansons was referenced by László Moholy-Nagy and has influenced the Bauhaus movement. Karlis Johansons was a member of the Constructivist art movement and he was the very first artist who created self-tensioned sculptures and exhibited them at the museum in 1921.
He brought nine self-tensioned sculptures to the exhibitions in Moscow and MoMA, New York 1921. There is no other proof of his inventions besides photographs from these two exhibitions. His destiny remains unknown after Constructivist artists were subjected to repressions. Later the same design principle was expanded and named 'Tensegrity' (tension + integrity) by Robert Buckminster Fuller in 1955. After that tensegrity structures became more popular and have been used in art and architecture worldwide.
*Tensegrity - a structural principle based on a system of isolated components under compression inside a network of continuous tension, and arranged in such a way that the compressed members (usually bars or struts) do not touch each other while the prestressed tensioned members (usually cables or tendons) delineate the system spatially. It applies when a discontinuous set of compression elements is opposed and balanced by a continuous tensile force, thereby creating an internal prestress that stabilizes the entire structure.