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Artists Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely Photo

Jean Tinguely

Swiss Sculptor and Painter

Movements and Styles: Nouveau Réalisme, Dada, Kinetic Art, Op Art, Performance Art, Modern Sculpture

Born: May 22, 1925 - Fribourg, Switzerland

Died: August 30, 1991 - Bern, Switzerland

Jean Tinguely Timeline

Quotes

"You can't expect the end of the world to end the way you want it to."
Jean Tinguely
"I am an artist educated by Duchamp."
Jean Tinguely
"The world has been experiencing a whole pattern of auto-destruction. Whether in environmental disasters like Chernobyl or health disasters like AIDS."
Niki de Saint Phalle
"To an engineer, good enough means perfect. With an artist, there's no such thing as perfect."
Alexander Calder
"The freedom of every artist is essential."
Christo

"Currently, my machines are black and sometimes gentle, if not sexy or exuding a contained violence; I finally found the technical means for accomplishing this."

Jean Tinguely Signature

Synopsis

Jean Tinguely first began creating assemblages composed of found-objects, but soon thereafter, intrigued by the current debate regarding the effect of mechanization and industrial innovation on modern society, he completely altered these static works by putting them into motion. Tinguely was intrigued by the effect of these moving constructions on the spectator and devoted the rest of his career to its exploration. The resultant oeuvre, on both a small and large scale, in works that generated corollary works of art and those that self-destructed, instigated spectator reaction and forever challenged the concept of a static experience of viewing art.

Key Ideas

Tinguely updated the Dada practice of creating sculptural assemblage composed of found-objects, most often scrap metal that might easily have been considered junk, by actually mechanizing them. The revolutionary step of putting a work of art into motion would become known as Kinetic Art.
Also following the lead of Dada artists, who used various means to make fun of society, Tinguely's mechanized creations were intended to mock the "improvements" of the industrial revolution and modern reliance on technology.
Tinguely challenged the assumption of the artist's monopoly on creation with his metamatics, mechanized assemblages fitted with a drawing stylus chosen by any given spectator. The works of art that resulted were given significance on their own, separate to that of the original construction.
The self-destructing assemblages took the concepts explored in his earlier mechanized sculptures to a new level. Providing an actual spectacle for the viewers, a one-off experience with a defined beginning and end intended not only to be seen but in addition, to evoke their reaction, these assemblages illustrate Tinguely branching out into more interactive art whose effect simulates a performance.

Biography

Jean Tinguely Photo

Childhood and Education

Tinguely was born on May 22, 1925 in Fribourg, Switzerland but his family moved to Basel shortly thereafter. Being the only child of two working class parents, Tinguely spent a considerable amount of time in solitude, exploring his bucolic surroundings. In 1940, at age fifteen, he began designing storefront window displays as an apprentice. The following year he began his studies at the Kunstgewerbeschule (Arts and Crafts School), where he stayed until 1945.

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Jean Tinguely Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Jean Tinguely
Interactive chart with Jean Tinguely's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Marcel DuchampMarcel Duchamp
Kurt SchwittersKurt Schwitters
Paul KleePaul Klee

Personal Contacts

Yves KleinYves Klein
Eva AeppliEva Aeppli
Niki de Saint PhalleNiki de Saint Phalle

Movements

DadaDada

Influences on Artist
Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely
Years Worked: 1947 - 1991
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Andy WarholAndy Warhol
Michael LandyMichael Landy

Personal Contacts

Niki de Saint PhalleNiki de Saint Phalle
Daniel SpoerriDaniel Spoerri

Movements

Nouveau RéalismeNouveau Réalisme
Neo-DadaNeo-Dada
Performance ArtPerformance Art
FluxusFluxus
PostmodernismPostmodernism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Caroline Igra
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