Pedro S. De Movellán (b. 1967, Providence, RI) developed his mastery of kinetic art through several influences. The child of an architect father and painter mother, De Movellán was raised in a home where artistic expression and technical knowledge were highly encouraged. Despite early memories of building and deconstructing all manner of machines, clocks, toys, and devices as a child, it was at university that De Movellán’s career changed. Originally intending to study engineering and design, he was struck by the sculpture of Alexander Calder and George Rickey and fascinated by the ever-changing aspects of their work. Before dedicating his time fully to art, De Movellán channeled his creative drive into making custom-made furniture and boat-building, drawing formal and technical inspirations that would continue to influence his work for decades.
De Movellán is most certainly a kinetic sculpture, accepting the mantle from his predecessors while pushing the boundaries of what is capable. While scale, form, and color are key components of virtually all sculpture, it is De Movellán’s ability with motion that sets him apart. For that, he relies heavily on technical expertise and instinct, but finds visual and theoretical cues in nature: trees, birds, and even the weather, but also to mathematics, engineering, fluid dynamics. The connection to air and wind is perhaps the most obvious as almost all of his work is driven by wind, but the visualization of air – and of objects moving in, with, and because of it – become one of De Movellán’s singular gifts.
Throughout his nearly 30 years as a kinetic sculptor, De Movellán has transitioned from using mostly wood to working predominantly in metal. However, in that time, he has worked with a huge variety of material including carbon fiber, gold leaf, Dacron, lasers, magnets, and water, ranging in size from mere inches to nearly 25 feet high. Kinetic sculpture exists in a narrow space: the coupling of its technical prowess its ever-changing formal aspects is often overlooked; De Movellán’s work in particular can be both imposing in size and scale, but also be a calming presence, providing a visual respite that is difficult to replicate on screen.