Jean Tinguely


Jean Tinguley immersive kinetic structures engulf the viewer, they bang, crash, rotate, slack, vibrate, rock and many more. The work is a performative event and its never certain what will happen next, even though it has a cycle every noise and action seems unique and new. The machines push the limits of what a mechanical structure can be and pushing the industrial materials to there limits because of this something which looks heavy and powerful can come across as delicate and strained. Any time a rod could snap, a gear chain could break putting the whole thing to a hold.

Jean Tinguley conveyor belt sculptures did have a purpose, he created machines which were to break down and be destroyed, also made drawing machine and contentiously tested the limits of experimental space, creating lists of work which invited the viewer to engage and play with the surroundings.

One metamechanic (kinetic sculpture machine) Jean Tinguley made was called Grosse Méta-Maxi-Maxi-Utopia (1987), which he explained as a sculpture where he wanted “ to create something comical, something for children to climb and jump on. I want it to turn out well: arresting, cheerful, crazy, like at a country fair.” He wanted to create machine worlds which could be looked at from within but at the same time the viewer could see those within playing and being guided around. The viewer was meant to be part of the work, they were meant to enjoy the journey it provided with all of its levels and paths, however that was never achieved, because of health and safety no one was aloud to the enter the machine. Jean Tinguley explained how “It looked nice there in the dark in Klus, in the plant hall, it was evil but very beautiful,“the work changed and became something static and aggressive, something which was meant to be inviting suddenly existed as dream world which was not aloud to be adventured.

On display now at Museum Tinguley in Switzerland it has certain areas of the sculpture open to the public so they are able to adventured through like it was built for.


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