Reviews

Da Vinci Engineered this link will take you to information about the Amy Johnson Festival, Hull Sat 2nd July -Sun 21st August 2016

‘Amy Johnson CBE (1903-1941) was one of the most influential and inspirational women of the twentieth century. She was the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930 and set a string of other records throughout her career’.

(A Brief Biography by Midge Gillies).’

‘From Renaissance mechanics to contemporary art’.

(Lara Goodband, Curator).

The exhibition at Zebedee’s Yard, Hull is part of the celebrations surrounding Amy Johnson and recognising the 75th anniversary of her death. The focus is on the ideas and inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci and includes 12 reproductions of flight and wind machines made with materials and techniques authentic to the time by the Niccolai Teknoart company. The machines represent Da Vinci’s fascination with the physics of flight and fascination with explorative engineering.

Seeing some of Da Vinci’s drawings and designs come to life..

The exhibition defined for me how Da Vinci’s ideas about physics and engineering were leading to innovation in the development of flying machines, especially helicopter rotor blades but also the potential for wing shapes to harness wind power. Although not constructed to full-size, the viewer can envisage the scale and power necessary to create motion.

Twelve contemporary artists were asked to combine new technology with traditional manufacturing processes to create pieces that would encourage the audience to consider both aesthetic and engineering qualities.

I thought the most successful of these was a three screen projection by Simone Aaberg Kaern

The piece focuses on the Second World War experiences of three Russian female Air Force pilots and an interview with a surviving pilot. So many questions arise from this work…How did these women make their way in such a male dominated world? How afraid were they when on missions? What compelled them to play such a role? How were they viewed by their male counterparts?

I became absorbed by the multi-sensory visual and auditory experiences of this work, noticing the contrast between the historical film reels that depicted war-time scenes with the more sedate imagery and personalisation of the interview sequence. Powerful and thought provoking.

Sisters of the Red Star 1999-2007

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