Best known for inventive and often whimsical mechanical sculptures, Jean Tinguely (Swiss, 1925–1991) was a painter and sculptor who worked in both Europe and the United States. Born in Fribourg, Switzerland between the World Wars, Tinguely grew up in Basel, where he attended the School of Arts and Crafts. In 1947, he moved to Paris and became involved with the Parisian avant-garde movement, meeting artists such as Yves Klein (1928–1962), Arman (1928–2005), and Daniel Spoerri, who called themselves the Nouveaux Réalistes.

In 1960, Tinguely carried out his famous Homage to New York, in which his site-specific sculpture was intended to self-destruct in the courtyard of the Museum of Modern Art. Even though the sculpture did not completely destroy itself, the event drew the attention of American audiences and led to collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg (1925–2008) on his Experiments in Art Technology project. Tinguely’s sculptures, sometimes called “metamechanics,” incorporated a vast array of materials, including wood, metal, fabric, gears, musical instruments, and found objects into moving or static constructions. In 1971 Tinguely married fellow artist Niki de Saint Phalle (1930–2002), with whom he frequently collaborated. Tinguely died in 1991 in Bern, Switzerland.

Timeline

1925
Born May 22nd in Freibourg, Switzerland
1991
Died August 30th in Bern, Switzerland

Exhibitions

2006
JGM.Galerie, Sculptures 1960-1990
2003–2004
Le Café Tinguely de Kyoto, Musée Tinguely, Bâle
2003–2004
"De Jeannot à Franz, Lettres et dessins de Jean Tinguely à Franz Meyer", Musée Tinguely, Bâle
2003
"Jean Tinguely, Ce qui bouge fonctionne mieux" Klagenfurt, Austriche
2002–2003
Jean le Jeune, Jean Tinguely - oeuvres de jeunesse jusqu’en 1959, Musée Tinguely, Bâle
2002–2003
Jean Tinguely, Le Silence n’existe pas, Kunsthalle Mannheim, Allemagne
2000–2001
A Bâle, je vivais avec la danse des morts, Musée Tinguely, Bâle
2000–2001
L‘Esprit 60 de Tinguely, Musée Tinguely, Bâle
2000–2001
L’Esprit de Tinguely, Kunstmuseum Wolfsburg, Allemagne
1999–2000
Rotozaza I et II, Musée Tinguely, Bâle
1996
Inauguration of Musée Jean Tinguely in Bâle.
1989
60s-80s Attitudes, Concepts, Images, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
1988
Nikide Saint-Phalle La Fontaine of Château Chinon Retrospective Exhibition at the Centre Georges Pompidou
1988
Rétrospective at the Centre Georges Pompidou Paris
1987
Retrospective at the Palais Grassi in Venice and th Promotion of the Belle Arti in Turin
1986
What is the modern sculpture, Centre Pompidou Paris
1984
Présente Inferno at the Galerie Kornfeld in Bern
1983–1984
Author of the Fontaine Stravinsky, Musée d'Art Moderne Paris
1983
Collaborated with Nikki de Saint-Phalle la Fontaine Stravinsky, Paris. Retrospective at the Musé d' Art and of History of Geneve
1980
Created the island fountain for the Wekenhof Exhbition in Riehen/Bâle
1976
Jean Tinguely. Dessins et gravures pour les sculptures, Cabinet des estampes, Musée d’art et d’historie, Genève, 1976, Nr. 52 (solo)
1972
12 Years of Contemporary Art in France, Grand-Palais Paris
1971
Retrospective at CNAC(Centre National d' Art Contemporain) in Paris
1970
Began the construction of 'Monstre' (The Head, The Cyclop), monumental sculpture installed near Milly, in the heart of the Fontainebleau forest
1969
Comparaisons: Peinture-Sculpture, Musée d'Art Moderne Paris
1967
Art et Mouvement, in Montréal
1967
Rotozaza n1 (machine that plays with ballons) at the Galerie Iolas in Paris, then Rotozaza n 2 (machine that destroys the beer bottles transported on the moving sidewalk) at Congrès des futurologues 'Vision 67,' New York
1965
Series of large 'copulatrice et masturbatrices' sortes de chars qui accomplissent de rapides mouvements de va-et-vient sur des rails très courts.
1961
Present in the Louisiana Museum, Humlabaek (Denmark) his study for the end of the world n 1 machine auto-destructive, dynamic and agressive. Period, 'junk' :Balubas
1960
New York= machine - happening - autodestructrice, Museume of Modern Art New York
1959
Meta-Matics de Tinguely, at Galerie Iris Clest in Paris
1959
Méta-matics (machines à dessiner et à peindre sonores et olfactives)
1958
Exhibition with Yves Klein at Galerie Iris Clert in Paris
1958
Vitesse Pure et Stabilité Monochrome, Galerie Iris Clest Paris
1954
Divergences, at Galerie Arnaud Paris
1954
1st solo exhibition at, Galerie Arnaud Paris

Literature

1976
Jean Tinguely. Dessins et gravures pour les sculptures, Cabinet des estampes, Musée d’art et d’historie, Genève 1976, Nr. 52 (catalogue)