Oxford Brookes University
is the home of a very important work of art:


a kinetic painting by

Frank J. Malina 1912-1981

'The COSMOS' is a kinetic painting created in 1965 and installed in the Helena Kennedy Student Centre, the building that once housed the publishers, Pergamon Press. This work belongs to the Malina family and is on loan to Oxford Brookes University.

'The Cosmos' is switched on via a timer switch. The piece is switched ON at 5 minutes to the hour and OFF again at 10 minutes past the hour, between 08.55 am and 7.10 pm, Monday to Friday.

Frank J. Malina was a rare combination of scientist and artist. In the 1940's, as a scientist he worked on high altitude rocket flight and co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. As an artist in the 50's and 60's he developed several different types of kinetic painting and this piece is representative of his 'Lumidyne System', made from electric light, shining through moving elements.

When "The COSMOS" was installed in 1966, Frank Malina wote:

'We live at a time when, because of man's first steps in exploring extraterrestrial space, we are more conscious of the universe, both intellectually and visually, than at any time since Copernicus led the overthrow of the Earth-centered cosmos. The galaxies, nebulae, stars, palanets and moons that we can see.... make up a universe that appears to us as a silent almost static panorama. That it is not static we know.....There are turbulent storms on the Sun, comets zooming through the void and other motions of matter in the far reaches of space....The mural might be called an expression of a "peaceful" Cosmos; not that, in reality, the universe is always so. Events of cataclysmic proportions are constantly occuring. Still, man - that fragile creature of Earth - dares to venture forth farther and farther away from his planetary cradle. The artist, in his turn, is challenged to find aesthetic significance in these experiences or to mock them in despair.'

Last Updated on 10/05/96

This page is maintained by Chris Jennings