6 Essential Off-Kilter Sculptures by Tim Hawkinson

An introduction to the sculptural work of Tim Hawkinson, whose retrospective Counterclockwise opens at NYC's Pace Gallery.

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An introduction to the sculptural work of Tim Hawkinson, whose retrospective Counterclockwise opens at NYC’s Pace Gallery.

Artist Tim Hawkinson’s celebrated body of work spans twenty years of sculpture, photography, painting, installation, music and collage. He’s made a name for himself by using common, everyday materials that transform into new forms.

It’s impressive and inventive—whether he’s filling a silicon cast of his body in foam (for “Ballon Self-Portrait #4,” 1996) or imprinting his knuckles, knees and elbows into resin for a four-foot tall seahorse (in “Tagalong,” 2013). In 2008, he constructed a life-sized motorcycle entirely out of feathers (“Sherpa,” 2008)

To recognize his incredible body of work, Pace Gallery in New York City is holding Counterclockwise, a comprehensive retrospective of the artist’s achievements. The show runs until April 23, 2016.

Here are some essential works by Tim Hawkinson you should know that best encompass his themes and mediums.


“Uberorgan” (2000)

Hawkinson is known to combine music and sound with his sculptures, but “Uberorgan” is an example of the artist stretching this concept to a massive scale.

This larger-than-life, stadium-sized, fully-automated contemporary sculpture of a bagpipe was composed of bits of electrical hardware and several miles of inflated plastic sheeting. The enormous construction of balloons and horns was housed at the Getty Center.

“Uberorgan” exemplifies Hawkinson’s trademark ability to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. It features a musical score of traditional hymns, pop songs, and improvisational tunes that were scrambled to create an endless variety of original compositions.


“Sherpa” (2008)

This impressive life-sized single cylinder two-stroke engine motorcycle is constructed out of eight varieties of feathers. Hawkinson searched for suitable feathers for cables, gears, and other details—down to the kickstand, handlebars, and headlights. He eventually selected ostrich, peacock, pheasant, turkey goose, rooster, marabou and guinea fowl.


“Blastula (1999)

Green pens and resin make up this sculptural representation of a simple organism. The viewing experience fluctuates from alien to familiar and then back to mystery as you try to figure out what the organism is, and what it’s suppose to do.


“Emoter” (2000)

Turning his face into a machine, “Emoter” works under the presumption that any expression can be deciphered by an audience. The combination of faces was created by irrational and non-patterned inputs like a randomized robotic command.


“Signature” (1993)

The intention of “Signature” is to gradually indicate the passing of time, represented through the pile of signed sheets featured on the floor of the gallery. Hawkinson expertly exemplifies his own being into a machine. The piece became known as both a complex and humorous kinetic sculpture, and laid the foundation for his later work.


“Balloon Self Portrait #4” (1996)

Hawkinson often uses accessible materials to create his work. This ideology extends to his own body. In “Balloon Self Portrait #4″, the artist used his body as a cast to help him make the inflated foam-filled silicon skin, which was later suspended from the ceiling.

Counterclockwise is Hawkinson’s fifth solo show at NYC’s Pace Gallery. It will feature some of his most notorious works and commemorate the artist’s expansive contribution to the art world. It runs until April 23, 2016 in New York City.

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