Jean Tinguely
Swiss, 1925-1991
Collected by major museums
Tate, Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
Selected exhibitions
Exposition collective,
Galerie Denise René
Jean Tinguely: Super Meta Maxi,
Museum Kunstpalast
Facing the Future: Art in Europe 1945-68,
Centre for Fine Arts (BOZAR)

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 …

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