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Jean Tinguely

Swiss, 1925–1991

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Jean Tinguely

Swiss, 1925–1991

1,860
Followers
Biography

A pioneer of kinetic sculpture, Jean Tinguely worked in the Dada tradition, satirizing industrial society’s overproduction of material with his complex assemblages of metal and machinery. Of his most renowned kinetic sculpture, Homage to New York (1960), Tinguely said, “it’s a sculpture, it’s a picture, it’s an accompanist, it’s a poet, it’s decoration—this machine is a situation.” He fabricated the 27-by-30-foot contraption from recycled metal scraps and designed it to self-destruct at the culmination of a half-hour performance, explaining, “the destruction is necessary because this machine is a grandiose spectacle that must live intensely.” Tragicomically, a firefighter intervened when flames burst out, so it never played out as intended during the single performance held in MoMA’s sculpture garden; however, the idea that an intensive, creative life leads to self-destruction lives on in Tinguely’s legacy.

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Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 14 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 2 more
Biography

A pioneer of kinetic sculpture, Jean Tinguely worked in the Dada tradition, satirizing industrial society’s overproduction of material with his complex assemblages of metal and machinery. Of his most renowned kinetic sculpture, Homage to New York (1960), Tinguely said, “it’s a sculpture, it’s a picture, it’s an accompanist, it’s a poet, it’s decoration—this machine is a situation.” He fabricated the 27-by-30-foot contraption from recycled metal scraps and designed it to self-destruct at the culmination of a half-hour performance, explaining, “the destruction is necessary because this machine is a grandiose spectacle that must live intensely.” Tragicomically, a firefighter intervened when flames burst out, so it never played out as intended during the single performance held in MoMA’s sculpture garden; however, the idea that an intensive, creative life leads to self-destruction lives on in Tinguely’s legacy.

Career Highlights
Learn more about artist insights.
User
Solo show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 3 more
Group
Group show at a major institution
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), and 14 more
Institution
Collected by a major institution
Tate, and 1 more
Publication
Reviewed by a major art publication
Artforum, and 3 more
Fair
Included in a major biennial
Venice Biennale International Exhibition, and 2 more
Shows Featuring Jean Tinguely
Articles Featuring Jean Tinguely
8 Artworks That Self-Destruct
Jun 14th, 2017
8 Artworks That Self-Destruct
The Art of Swiss Humor
Jan 30th, 2014
The Art of Swiss Humor
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