Alistair McClymont, a British artist, captures very simple natural occurrences in a way that they evoke a sense of real wonder. This plain, but at the same time sophisticated beautiful art occurs only due to the artist’s patriotic dedication to science, which is clearly seen in his Raindrop, Rainbow and The Limitations of Logic and the Absence of Absolute Certainty as the most his well-known works. 

One will likely feel to be present in an experimental physicist’s lab, than an art studio when he or she sees the works of Alistair McClymont. For example, have a look at a Raindrop, made from wood, fibreglass, aluminium honeycomb, steel mesh, fan, water. This work is based on an early 70s experiment at the University of Manchester. Raindrop comprises a machine built to allow a drop of water to hover in mid air.

Alistair McClymont Alistair McClymont Alistair McClymont

Another phenomena’ artwork is called Rainbow. After seeing a documentary about a machine that could keep a raindrop in free fall, McClymont set his sights on the reproduction of this mechanism. He contacted physicist Clive Saunders, one of whose, who conducted the experiment with raindrop in Manchester, to ask his participation and help. After a cooperation with him, started to build up his own machine. In two years the work was ready.

This machine keeps a water droplet in perpetual free fall by a wind tunnel. To smooth the air McClymont used layers of steel gauze and honeycombed aluminium, and a narrow top to make the air flow quickly. «The water droplet is simply squeezed out of a syringe into this airstream, which is travelling at a few metres per second – the same as a falling raindrop».

Alistair McClymont

Alistair McClymont

Every single work of art in his catalogue is definitely worth seeing. But the beauty and magic insight is seen only via deliberate observation. Much more intense, when you view a stationary picture on the wall or a sculpture. A whole bunch of questions arise by a character of McClymont art-style. Where is the border between simple science and McClymont’s art? Is science only his medium, or his entire method? And is McClymont himself actually an artist, or just a laboratory assistant happened to be present at various galleries and museums?

McClymont’s response does not have clear-cut answers to the majority of these questions. First of all, he does not split artistic practice and scientific methodology. They do exist together, or even are not dissociable. And this very combination of both art and science give him a desired creativity, which leads to successful results.

One of his best-known works is The Limitations of Logic and the Absence of Absolute Certainty, a 10 foot by 8 foot construction, made from fans, humidifier, scaffolding and lights. To put it simple, it is an artificial tornado machine.

Alistair McClymont

In 2016 McClymont’s Limitations was exhibited at Ars Electronica’s museum in Linz, Austria for almost a year. And this work in particular, that highly impressed the selection panel, made the artist be chosen out to be Artquest’s Beam Time resident, based at Oxfordshire’s Central Laser Facility. This membership gives him a splendid opportunity to develop his practice, staying in a close contact with leading scientists and researchers from CLF. Alistair McClymont: «My proposal when applying for the residency was that I didn’t want to set out a specific plan or artwork that I would try and make. The most important thing was to spend time with scientists and see what excited them, to try and understand what they were doing and let that lead to an artistic outcome».

Now his works are exhibited at Platform Southwark, London within a framework of his Solo Exhibition.

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