Ronny Van De Velde
At the end of the 1940s Nicolas Schöffer makes Constructivist sculptures in a style he calls spatiodynamism, objects that combine space and dynamism. With open structures onto which he mounts plates in metal or plastics, he wishes to create three-dimensional rhythms. While he experiments with movement in order to turn his objects into kinetic sculptures, he discovers the possible applications of electronics to his work. Wholly in keeping with the spirit of the age, he designs cybernetic sculptures outfitted with an electronic 'brain' that allows them to move in response to external stimuli. From 1957 on he starts using light as well, and this gives birth to luminodynamism. The moving works are provided with projectors and reflecting panels, and produce endless variations of shadows and patterns of white and colored light. The series of works from the 1970s, entitled Chronos, represent what he calls chronodynamism – sculptures programmed to react to the passage of time. – Schöffer is best known for his large-scale projects that respond to changes in the surrounding environment, like the Tour cybernétique which he erects in Liège in 1961 (and stands there to this day). Combined with an 80-meter wall that acts as screen, the 52-meter tall tower provides a spectacular sound- and light show, and recalls the great expectations that some then harbored for the melding of man and machine.