Watch the Gears Spin: Kyle Bean
Published July 26, 2010
“Craft has always been a big passion of mine, from a young age,” says Kyle Bean, the Brighton, England-based artist who, at the age of just 23, is still pretty young. All the better that he’s thinking about the future: Bean’s work, he says, fuses “our human relationship with science and technology” and “the everyday materials that are around us.” Of his recent installation in the window of London department store Selfridges, he explained: “The great thing… is that they actively encourage artists to treat their windows as though its an exhibition space,” he says. He used that freedom to take cardboard and books as his mediums, and deconstruct mechanical objects to spectacular effect.
The Devon-born artist’s fascination with “discovering how things work, whether its in technology or indeed in nature” matches the shop’s theme, which involved minimalism and “pairing things down to a single ‘object of desire.” Drawing inspiration from the law of conservation of mass (“Matter cannot be created or destroyed, only transformed”), Bean’s installation involves five distinct objects, taken apart and re-assembled like “giant scales” to create the effect of dreamlike equilibrium. His motorbike, stripped to its gears and bolts and suspended as if by Magneto, the artist chose for its masculine features. By contrast, his disassembling of a wedding cake is meant to take apart its charming, delicate, even humorous features. “The aluminum cans are a great symbol of mass production and consumerism,” he says, to create contrast with his selection of vintage fairytale books, “transformed into a castle to show their preciousness, due to their age and rarity.”
Kyle’s site-specific designs also had to grab the attention of a fickle, window-shopping public: “I think for a window display to grab attention it either needs to be technically very impressive and bold or have a clear enough concept so that passers by can understand it by the time they have walked from one side of the window to the other.”