Rocking Machine sculpture by Herman Makkink

Designer: Herman Makkink

Directors: Tinto Brass, Stanley Kubrick

Rocking Machine is a shiny white phallic sculpture by Herman Makkink which appears in Cat Lady’s house in A Clockwork Orange.

Part of an edition of six made in 1969, it was not designed specifically for A Clockwork Orange. When Stanley Kubrick visited Herman Makkink’s St Katharine’s Docks studios looking for artwork for his forthcoming film A Clockwork Orange he selected the Rocking Machine together with the Christs Unltd. dancing Christ chorus line, along with paintings by Herman’s brother, artist Cornelis (Kees) Makkink.

Makkink said “They formed part of my studio work at the time, and, after seeing them there, Kubrick wanted to use them for the film because they probably had the futuristic look he and his wife wanted. In the late sixties and early seventies, we, London based artists, felt terribly hip. We didn’t want to fight the establishment so much as shock them. Pop Art was in full swing and so was the sexual revolution, so I combined a penis with a beautifully shaped female rear in fibre glass. I thought this would be really shocking. I thought I could make the object move by constructing a heavy pendulum swing inside. To my surprise I found that it made an irregular movement, so I exaggerated that by adding extra weights in various places. That resulted in Rocking Machine’s specific, jerky motion.” 

The success and the scandal surrounding the film, meant that Herman’s two sculptures quickly gained iconic status. 

The Herman Makkink Estate holds the copyright for the original Rocking Machine work and has now developed a new official edition of the Rocking Machine – please email us at [email protected] for details.

Herman Makkink’s sculpture Christ Unlimited of a chorus line of dancing christs also appeared in A Clockwork Orange – in Alex’s bedroom.

Interestingly the dancing Christs and the ‘Rocking Machine’ by Herman Makkink also featured in the Tinto Brass film Dropout (1970) starring Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero. Brass was also considered at one point for directing A Clockwork Orange. 

Herman’s brother Cornelius Makkink also has paintings and artworks in A Clockwork Orange and DropOut.