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The Art Story Homepage Artists Jean Tinguely
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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

"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

Summary of Jean Tinguely

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.
<i>Heureka</i> sculpture on the shores of Lake Zurich by Jean Tinguely in Switzerland
Heureka sculpture on the shores of Lake Zurich by Jean Tinguely in Switzerland

Declaring, "The only stable thing is movement," Jean Tinguely pioneered Kinetic Art. He was also a leader of many other artistic directions in his powerfully prolific, creative life.

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.
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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
Influences on Artist
Jean Tinguely
Jean Tinguely
Years Worked: 1947 - 1991
Influenced by Artist
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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First published on 22 Jun 2016. Updated and modified regularly. Information
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