Neil Hardy Subversive Humour

Neil Hardy from Essex in England was an architect before he decided to concentrate exclusively on constructing mechanical automata. For the past ten years this has become his obsession, launched with a visit at the Cabarets Mechanical Theatre in Covent Garden.

Alexander Calder, Jean Tinguely and Sam Smith are the artists generally seen as the fathers of modern mechanical toy autmata. What is understood by this are movable toys and animated scenes for whom the mechanics are a vital part of the art object.  Subversive sense of humour, and a feel for the ridiculous, maybe a 'typical British thing, are combined here with mechanical refinement. Each of the objects invites for interaction.  The person discovering the automaton also discovers that his own interaction is an essential part of it and he is allowed to marvel and smile at the ironic reflex.  These automata have their tongue firmly in their cheek and amuse through clever and well thought - out little surprises.

Neil Hardy invites sometimes very simple and sometimes extremely complicated mechanisms to make his automata work with humour, artistic claim and technical refinement. This often means a whole chain of different movements are launched. His picture world is filled with irony of tiny amazing stories.

Watch short video clips of the automatas in action: »Elephant« and »Evolutionary Blunders«