JEAN TINGUELY

Jean Tinguely is born in Switzerland (Fribourg) in 1925 and dies in 1991 in Bern (Switzerland).

In 1953, when he settles in Paris he works with Spoerri, in the studio of Jean Lurçat. In 1955, he participates in group exhibitions, then in the exhibition Le mouvement (“Movement”), organized by the Galerie Denise René, a show that celebrates kinetic art (with Agam,Vasarely, etc.). In the same year, he builds the Meta series, machines that paint canvas, parodying abstraction, Tachism and Abstract Expressionism.

Jean Tinguely becomes a member of the Groupe Espace in 1959 and, in 1960, is co-founder of the New Realist (Nouveau réalisme) movement (Restany, Arman, César, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, etc.). During a trip to the United States, he makes contact with Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns.
In 1961, Tinguely will play a significant role in the international exhibition Bewogen Beweging (Art in Motion) at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. For the artist, “the new perceptual approach to reality” emerges through the electric motor and the machine. In collaboration with his wife, Niki de Saint-Phalle, he produces numerous works (notably the “Fontaine Stravinsky” near the Centre Pompidou, Beaubourg) and will participate in a series of gigantic “happenings”, from New York to Copenhagen, where his works smoke, explode and self-destruct in a sometimes terrible crash.

In 1967, the Rotozazas appear: sculptures, painted black, that play ball; in 1970, there will be the Chars and the Bascules, sculptures that move, very noisily, along the tracks. Later, feathers, bulbs, skulls and dentures will come to embellish his machines. Many solo exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world will be dedicated to this baroque work, often made of machines with explosive, demented movements.