A Curious Turn: moving, mechanical sculpture

An exhibition of moving mechanical sculpture

A Curious Turn: moving, mechanical sculpture

Automata are sculptures which are brought magically to life through a sequence of cogs, cams, cranks and levers. For centuries they have delighted and bewitched people.

A Curious Turn features automata from the leading makers of the last 40 years, ranging from the humorous to the macabre and from the playful to the satirical. We will be previewing 15 objects from this new exhibition at Platform Gallery, Habitat from 15 September - 2 October. Visitors will be able to turn, push and crank to see many of the pieces in action, while other pieces will have films to show them in motion. Amongst many others some key makers and automata promoters explored in the exhibition are Sam Smith, Paul Spooner, Melanie Tomlinson, Ron Fuller and Sue Jackson.

Sam Smith is seen as the grandfather of contemporary automata! Despite being a folk art toy maker, his celebrated style has influenced generations of automata makers. His beautifully painted colourful 'toys' at first glance look playful and harmless, but on closer inspection they explore the darker side of human life. The Crafts Council Collection holds some wonderful examples of his work, some of which will be shown in the exhibition.

Cabaret Mechanical Theatre and their founder, Sue Jackson, have played a strong role in the revival of automata and in supporting a growing number of automata makers. Recognising the potential popularity of these moving machines, Jackson actively encouraged a group of makers in Falmouth, Cornwall - Peter Markey, Paul Spooner and Ron Fuller – to make automata to sell in her local craft shop, Cabaret. She often actively guided their creative direction, looking for wit and entertainment in the automata that she collected.

A complimentary family-friendly workshop with Fire the Inventor will be hosted on Saturday 24th September from 2-5pm, where visitors can create their own automata then connect it with others to create a long snaking line of cams, colours and shapes!


What? A Curious Turn: moving, mechanical sculpture

Where?: Platform Gallery, Habitat

When?: 15th - 2nd October

This could be a great event to review for your Arts Award! Remember to post your reviews on Voice!



Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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