Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely, born on the 22nd of May 1925 in Friburg and deceased on the 30th of August 1991 in Bern, is a Swiss plastic artist.

Tinguely is brought up in Basel, where he realised his first meta-mecanic works: hydraulic wheels build on streams with sonorous effects. 

Tinguely studied at Basel Applied Arts School. According to Daniel Spoerri's descriptions, the compositions realised by Tinguely shows, through their free execution, an extraordinary audacity and magic power.

Yet, Tinguely didn't show his creations to the public. We know that he executed numerous oil on canvas, but, according to him, it was impossible for him to finish a work; he choosed to dedicate himself to the movement, in order to escape the petrifaction, the end of the art piece.

Tinguely's sculptures evolved to become some kind of total art pieces, requesting simultaneously numerous senses: sight, hearing, touch and, sometimes, smell, when the works produced smoke.

Tinguely also helped his wife, Niki de Saint Phalle, to realise her own works, as the "Tirs" or the Stravinsky Fountain.

Tinguely possessed the infallible gift to provoke the public attention and to thus establish a communication, by using familiar mechanisms which he were diverting from their daily function and purpose. Tinguely was a sculptor who, firstly, used recovered materials at which he gave life by using engines to animate them. His machines, consciously imperfect, refuse the new object cult, products by the consumption society, cult yet omnipresent during the "Trente Glorieuses".

In a society where the machine is more and more present, Tinguely introduced it in art by showing its playful and useless aspect. Tinguely was an unquestionable master, and his work figures among the most living manifestations of sculpture during the XXth century.