Part Engineering, Part Jewelry, Part Sculpture: Dukno Yoon’s Kinetic Wings Yearn to Fly

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The mechanics of movement are explored in a series of works by Dukno Yoon, a Korean born artist who currently teaches metalsmithing and jewelry at Kansas State University. The body adornment pieces connect the kinetics of hand gestures to flying wings. Profoundly simple, the pieces celebrate the elegance of mechanics.

The work is partly a study in engineering, and partly a study of artistic insight. The sharp, metal construction directly contrasts with the soft, downy wings, yet the mechanics of each piece is rooted in the idea that “form follows function.” Each construction harnesses similar body movements differently, but all result in flapping wings.

In the artist’s words:

Although the recent series, segmented wings have been focused on the formal challenge to engineer an intricate movement that simulates bird wings, these works are intended to be a series of poems in which I develop my own formal language, interpret the nature of wings, create various structural forms with movements, and share the metaphor, imagination, humor, with viewer/wearer.

Maybe we all have wing extensions that (despite their invisibility) respond to our movements. Can these sculptures help us to fly? Perhaps even as Dumbo’s feather helped an elephant to fly, the art of mechanical wings can help us along on our journey.

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