ART SG 2024 Artist Spotlight: Who is Smith & Winken?

Cultural Perspectives • 16 Jan 2024

ART SG 2024 Artist Spotlight: Who is Smith & Winken?

by Rachel Au

Smith & Winken will be presenting ‘Endless Movement’ for the first time in Singapore as part of ART SG 2024, but who is this Ukrainian artist duo?

To the ordinary eye, the thought of wood, textile, and metal might not transform beyond their natural form. But for Valery Kuznetsov (Smith) and Otto Winken – the Ukrainian artist duo that make up Smith & Winken – these mundane everyday materials have the potential to be born anew and transform into life-like mechanical sculptures. Set in motion by specially designed mechanisms powered by electricity, Smith & Winken’s creations invite viewers to witness the beauty of life from a new perspective. They call it ‘Endless Movement’, a growing limited-edition collection of over 20 kinetic sculptures.

“Each of the collection’s objects arose as an attempt to learn from the basic mechanisms and patterns of interaction between the Earth structures, living and artificial. Again and again, we raise the question: What is life? Spirituality of inanimate nature or technicality of the living creatures’ existence? Exploring scenarios of the future, we demonstrate the hypothetical forms that can develop in the process of evolution,” Kuznetsov explained.  

“There are no technical or technological revolutions in the Endless Movement project. Our goal is to observe, study and rethink the world around us. An attempt to slow down and realise that everyday materials and phenomena can look totally different. Kinetic sculptures appeal to the eternal: movement, light, and their interaction with each of us. Their physical dimensions are commensurate with human proportions, and they are emotionally in tune,” added Winken.



smith and winken spero

To begin with, Kuznetsov and Winken were established professional designers, each equipped with immense experience in architecture and product design. Kuznetsov had co-founded Ukrainian studio decorkuznetsov, authored numerous interior projects and participated in European exhibitions. He has even won international competitions such as Red Dot (2020, 2015). Meanwhile, Winken built his career as a Ukrainian architect and engineer of Austrian origin, with countless architectural and unique design projects under his belt. 

smith and winken sketch

In 2020, the two created Smith & Winken, combining Kuznetsov’s unique development of utilitarian design objects and Winken’s creative technical thinking. The result was a signature style of kinetic objects that form the Endless Movement collection. Similar to the beauty of the mechanics of watches, parts of Smith & Winken’s mechanical sculptures are made by hand – including the sketches. No software is used, instead the blueprints are manually drawn. Some of the components that connect the workings of the prototypes too are made by hand, especially if it required a precise fit. But like the parts of a watch movement, the metal parts are beautifully finished by hand at the end. 



smith and winken flipper

“Everyone sees something different in these objects. For me, it is a combination of architecture, rhythm, static and dynamics that changes the shape of the object. This synthesis of aesthetics from different eras and styles creates a new cocktail. Endless Movement, personally, is the main symbol of life and proof of its infinity,” Winken answered. 

For Kuznetsov, Endless Movement equally doubles as a victory of light and proof of their cultural front: “We believe that when we show a project such as ours to the world, it’s important for us to also convey that Ukraine is an amazing free country with a huge positive potential. Each exhibition is an opportunity to convey our sense of inner freedom through an object – and it works better than a thousand words.” 

“It is incredibly valuable for us to find like-minded people and we are grateful for this partnership with The Hour Glass and MB&F that we’re able to expand our audience through ART SG. It gives us an opportunity to share our emotions and who we are – free people with a powerful culture and great potential for creativity,” Kuznetsov added. 



Smith and Winken portrait with spero

Five of Smith & Winken’s Endless Movement artworks can be found at the MB&F M.A.D.Gallery Geneva, which first launched in 2011 with the ground-breaking concept of being 50% watch boutique, 50% art gallery – and 100% dedicated to the world of mechanical and kinetic art. For the rest of the world, there’s the MB&F Lab, a recreation of this hybrid retail experience in a more intimate setting. In fact, the world’s first MB&F Lab was co-launched with The Hour Glass at the iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore in 2022. 

As the Associate Partner for ART SG 2024, The Hour Glass is collaborating with MB&F to bring a taste of the MB&F Lab with seven Endless Movement artworks by Smith & Winken: ‘Hover’, ‘Tessen’, ‘Gemini’, ‘Christopher’, ‘Flipper’, the signature ‘Skipper’ and the latest one-of-one creation ‘Spero’.  

“We are very grateful to The Hour Glass and MB&F for their interest and appreciation of our work. We too are attracted and fascinated by the precision and eternity of watch movements, both from a technical and philosophical point of view. For us, high-precision watch movements created by MB&F, with such incredible design and quality, are pure magic. Regardless of the era, time has been, and remains, the greatest value of humanity. Similar to our objects, we also encourage visitors to treat time more rationally and carefully. To really value it,” said Winken. 


Update 31 January 2024:

As ART SG 2024 has concluded, ‘Endless Movement’ will be on display at MB&F Lab, Singapore from now till 18 Feb.

Tags: art art sg mb&f mb&f lab smith & winken

We’re here to help

Loading Consult A Specialist Form

Change Country

Select your country:


Share via:

To find out more about our available positions, please visit our Careers page.