Country:   Switzerland
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The Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely began an apprenticeship as a shop-window decorator in a department store in 1940. He then studied at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basle from 1941 to 1945, a period during which he discovered the art of Schwitters and Klee as well as becoming an enthusiastic fan of the Bauhaus. Tinguely began experimenting with movement in space in 1944 with his machine-like sculptures by equipping them with electric motors and making them spin around at high speed. He moved to Paris in 1951, where he participated in Robert Rauschenberg's international happenings and associated with the casual artist group 'Neauveaux Réalistes', exhibiting works in their exhibitions. He had his first one-man exhibition three years later, in 1954, at the Galerie Arnaux. Tinguely's fantasy machines with pre-programmed elements of chance, the so-called 'Métamatics', are quite spectacular. They are machines producing drawings, or self-destructive machines. His welded iron constructions represent ironic attacks on the purpose of the era of technology. Tinguely exhibited works at the Biennale in Paris in 1959 and associated himself with the group ZERO. The artist's international fame came around the mid-1960s, if not earlier. He showed works at the documenta 3, 4 and 6 in Kassel between 1964 and 1977. Tinguely married the artist Niki de Saint-Phalle, a close friend of his, in 1961. Together, they installed the climbable female sculpture 'Hon' at the Moderna Museet, Stockholm in 1966. In the same year he participated in the exhibition 'The Machine' at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. One year later he was present at the World Exhibition in Montreal. His 'Machines' were once again shown at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1968 in the exhibition 'Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage'. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago organised a retrospective exhibition in the same year and there was a large touring retrospective exhibition in 1972/73 which started at the Kunsthalle in Basle. Tinguely never ceased working, even in his old age. In 1980/81 he created the fountain 'La Fontaine Stravinsky' in Paris together with Niki de Saint Phalle. The last large retrospective exhibition took place before the artist's death at the Centre George Pompidou in Paris (1988), which also organised a retrospective exhibition of Tinguely's fantasy machines in 1997. Accessed 31.05.2007 from
25 Selected Statements
      Worktype Info Year Country Admin
Méta-mécanique sonore II Sculptural Relief Galerie Samlaren in Stockholm 1955 Sweden Edit
Mes étoiles Concert pour sept peintures Galerie Iris Clert 1958 France Edit
Vitesse pure et stabilité monochrome Installation Galerie Iris Clert 1958 France Edit
Meine Sterne - Concert for 7 Pictures Klangrelief 1958 Switzerland Edit
Für Statik Manifesto Düsseldorf 1959 Germany Edit
Cyclo-Matic Happening Institute of Contemporary Arts, London 1959 England Edit
Homage to New York Happening Museum of Modern Art in New York. 1960 USA Edit
Nouveaux Réalistes Artist Group / Festival Paris 1961 France Edit
Étude pour une fin du monde No. 1 a happening with rockets and other fireworks Louisiana Museum, Humlebaek, 1961 Denmark Edit
Study for an End of the World No. 2 Happening Las Vegas, Nevada 1962 USA Edit
Heureka Sculpture Expo 64 in Lausanne. 1963 Switzerland Edit
Hon - - 1966 Sweden Edit
Works for the World Fair Sculpture Montreal 1967 Canada Edit
Le Cyclop Sculpture Milly-la-Forêt 1970 France Edit
Méta Harmonie IV - Fatamorgana - in an abandoned factory building of Von Roll Ltd. in Olten for the exhibition in the Kunsthalle of the Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich. 1970 Germany Edit
La Vittoria - Milan Cathedral 1970 Italy Edit
Doppel-Helix” Sculpture Basel Institute for Immunology of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd 1971 Switzerland Edit
Chaos No. 1 Large Sculpture Civic Mall, Columbus, Indiana 1973 USA Edit
Le Crocrodrome de Zig and Puce Installation Centre Georges Pompidou 1977 France Edit
Klamauk sound sculpture mounted on a tractor “Tinguely – Luginbühl” exhibition at the Städel, Frankfurt. 1979 Germany Edit
Meta-Harmonie II Kinetic Sculpture 1979 Germany Edit
La Cascade Large Hanging Sculpture Charlotte, North Carolina 1981 USA Edit
Pit-Stop composed of elements from Formula 1 racing cars. Rungis near Paris commissioned by Régie Renault 1984 France Edit
Grosse Méta Maxi-Maxi Utopia - in a factory building of Von Roll Ltd. in Klus. This is shown in the retrospective in Venice (Palazzo Grassi). The exhibition continues to Turin (Promotrice delle Belle Arti), Paris (Musée national de l’art moderne in the Centre Georges Pompidou). 1987 Latvia Edit
Wittgenstein, Philosoph - - 1988 Edit