Jean Tinguely (1925 – 1991)

The machine sculptures engage in a loud and multi-coloured conversation with the onlooker: Through his works, Jean Tinguely communicates and interacts with the spectator. The machine functions and becomes art. Tinguely’s artworks sparkle with wit, vitality, irony and poetry. Seen against a deeper background, though, they also reveal a feeling for tragicomedy, for the enigmatic and inscrutable.

 

 


Jean Tinguely (1925 – 1991)

The machine sculptures engage in a loud and multi-coloured conversation with the onlooker: Through his works, Jean Tinguely communicates and interacts with the spectator. The machine functions and becomes art. Tinguely’s artworks sparkle with wit, vitality, irony and poetry. Seen against a deeper background, though, they also reveal a feeling for tragicomedy, for the enigmatic and inscrutable.

 

 

#1: Jean Tinguely als Pfadfinder, ca. 1935, Fotograf unbekannt. #2: Jean Tinguely, ca. 1942, Fotograf unbekannt #3: Schaufenster von Jean Tinguely, Buchhandlung Tanner, Basel, Mai 1950. #4: Schaufenster von Jean Tinguely, Kost Sport, Basel, Mai 1949. #3 und 4: Fotos Peter Moeschlin

<< | >> 1925 – 1947

1925: Born on May 22 in Fribourg. Mother and child move from Bulle to Basel in July 1925.
1931 – 1940: Schooling in Basel. 1941 – 1944: Apprenticeship as a decorator.
1944: Attends courses at the School of Arts and Crafts in Basel.
As of 1947: Frequents the circle of the Basel anarchist Heiner Koechlin.

#1: Eva Aeppli und Jean Tinguely, ca. 1958, Foto John R. van Rolleghem. #2: Mutter Tinguely mit Eva und Jean im Impasse Ronsin, Paris, ca. 1957 #3-5: Eva Aeppli im Atelier Impasse Ronsin, ca. 1958. #2-5: Fotos Hansjörg Stoecklin

<< | >> 1952 – 1954

October 1952: Moves to France with his wife Eva Aeppli.

May 1954: Inauguration of his first exhibition at the Galerie Arnaud in Paris.

Installation views, Photos Galerie Denise René

<< | >> April 1955

Together with Pol Bury, Soto, Calder, Vasarely, Calder, Duchamp and other artists, Tinguely takes part in the exhibition «Le Mouvement» at the Galerie Denise René in Paris, where kinetic art, for the first time, plays a major role.

#1: Jean Tinguely im Atelier Impasse Ronsin mit Horizontal II, 1954. Foto John R. van Rolleghem. #2: Jean Tinguely und Eva Aeppli, Paris, ca. 1960. Foto Robert Doisneau. #3: Eva und Jean im Atelier Impasse Ronsin, Paris, ca. 1956. Foto Hansörg Stoecklin. #4: Jean Tinguely im Impasse Ronsin, ca. 1958. Foto John R. van Rolleghem

<< | >> 1955

1955: At the beginning of the year Tinguely moves into a studio in the Impasse Ronsin; his neighbours are the sculptor Constantin Brancusi and other artists.
Shows his relief «Méta-mécanique sonore II» in an exhibition at the Galerie Samlaren in Stockholm.
Together with Pol Bury, Soto, Calder, Vasarely, Calder, Duchamp and other artists, Tinguely takes part in the exhibition «Le Mouvement» at the Galerie Denise René in Paris, where kinetic art, for the first time, plays a major role.

#1-2: Yves Klein und Jean Tinguely, Atelier Impasse Ronsin, 1958. Fotos Martha Rocher. #3-4: Niki de Saint Phalle und Jean Tinguely, Atelier Impasse Ronsin, ca. 1962. Fotos Vera Mercer

<< | >> 1955 – 1956

Meets Niki de Saint Phalle and Yves Klein.

#1: Jean Tinguely und Yves Klein, 1959. Foto Hans Haacke. #2: JEAN TINGUELY, Excavatrice de l'espace, 1958. Foto Martha Rocher. #3: Jean Tinguely, Yves Klein, Iris Clert, Werner Ruhnau, Bro, Jesús Rafael Soto in der Galerie Iris Clert, 1958. Fotograf unbekannt. #4: Ausstellung Vitesse pure et stabilité monochrome, Galerie Iris Clert, 1958. Foto Robert David

<< | >> 1958

Exhibits «Mes étoiles – Concert pour sept peintures» in July at the Galerie Iris Clert.
Shows the installation «Vitesse pure et stabilité monochrome» in the same gallery in November together with Yves Klein.

#1-2: Jean Tinguely beim Abwurf des Manifests, 1959. Fotos Charles Wilp. #3: Manifest für Statik

<< | >> March 1959

Scatters copies of the manifesto «Für Statik» (For statics) from an aeroplane over Düsseldorf.

In der Ausstellung «Méta-Matics de Jean Tinguely»: #1: Jean Tinguely mit Iris Clert. Fotograf unbekannt. #2: Jean Tinguely mit Marcel Duchamp. Fotograf unbekannt #3: Hans Arp. Foto Hansjörg Stoecklin

<< | >> July 1959

Exhibition «Méta-Matics de Jean Tinguely» in the Galerie Iris Clert in Paris.

#1: «Cyclo-Matic-Evening» im ICA. Foto John Cox. #2: Vorbereitungen. Foto Richard Hamilton. #3: Mit Eva Aeppli, Foto Hansjörg Stoecklin. #4: «Cyclo-Matic-Evening» im ICA. Foto Richard Hamilton

<< | >> November 1959

«Cyclo-Matic-Evening» at the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts) in London, a happening with racing cyclists and drawing machines.

Homage to New York, 1960. Fotos David Ghar

<< | >> March 1960

«Homage to New York», an action with a self-destructing mechanical sculpture in the garden of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

Le Transport, 1960. Fotos Christer Christian

<< | >> 1960

Mai: Tinguely transports with friends his works through the streets of Quartier Montparnasse in Paris to an exhibition.
Founds in October the group of «Nouveaux Réalistes» in Paris with Arman, François Dufrêne, Raymond Hains, Yves Klein, Pierre Restany, Jacques de la Villeglé, as well as Martial Raysse and Daniel Spoerri.

Etude pour une fin du monde, 1961. Fotos Jorn Freddie

<< | >> September 1961

«Étude pour une fin du monde No. 1», an action with rockets and other fireworks at the Louisiana Museum, Humlebæk, Denmark.

Study for an End of the World, 1962: #1: Jean Tinguely und Niki de Saint Phalle am Kommandopult. #2: Die Installation vor der Aktion. #3-4: Die Aktion. Fotos LIFE Coliene Murphy

<< | >> March 1962

«Study for an End of the World No. 2», a further sculptural ensemble that self-destructs before an audience in the desert of Nevada,
near Las Vegas, USA.

Tinguely an der Arbeit an Heureka. Fotos Monique Jacot

<< | >> Winter 1963 – 1964

Creates the monumental sculpture «Heureka» for the Expo 64 in Lausanne.

#1: Hon im Bau. Foto Magnus Wibom. #2: Ausstellung Hon. #3: Niki de Saint Phalle und Jean Tinguely vor Hon. #2-3: Fotos Hans Hammarskiöld

<< | >> Spring 1966

Creates «Hon» in collaboration with Niki de Saint Phalle and Per Olof Ultvedt at the Moderna Museet in Stockholm.

 

#1: Le Paradis fantastique. Fotos Harry Shunk. #2: Bauplatz des Paradis fantastique. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #3: Le Paradis fantastique. Fotos Harry Shunk. #4: JEAN TINGUELY, Plakat für das Paradis fantastique in Stockholm, 1970

<< | >> 1967

Presents two works at the World Fair 67 in Montreal: «Requiem pour une feuille morte» for the Swiss pavilion, and «Le Paradis fantastique» together with Niki de Saint Phalle for the French pavilion.
The Tourist Board in Basel acquires «Hannibal II», a large tank-sculpture.

 

#1 und 3: Tinguely im Atelier in Neyruz 1978. #2: Atelier Neyruz 1972. Fotos Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> Christmas 1968

Settles in Switzerland, in a former inn at Neyruz in the Canton of Fribourg.

#1: Cyclop, Bauplatz, 1970. Foto Ad Petersen. #2: Platzierung des Eisenbahnwagons für Eva Aepplis Arbeit, 1971. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #3: JEAN TINGUELY, Entwurfszeichnung für Cyclop, 1970, Museum Tinguely, Basel. #4: Niki de Saint Palle, Bernhard Luginbühl, Seppi Imhof, Jean Tinguely auf dem Bauplatz, 1971. #5: Bernhard Luginbühl auf dem Bauplatz, 1971. #4-5: Fotos Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> 1970

Construction begins in Milly-la-Forêt on «Le Cyclop», a giant walk-in sculpture created in collaboration with Bernhard Luginbühl, Larry Rivers, Niki de Saint Phalle, Daniel Spoerri and others. Work is carried out with the aid of Tinguely's assistants Josef Imhof and Rico Weber

 

La Vittoria, 1970. Fotos Ad Petersen

<< | >> November 1970

«La Vittoria»: in front of Milan Cathedral, Tinguely burns a giant golden phallus on the occasion of the festival celebrating the 10th anniversary of the «Nouveaux Réalistes».

#1-3: Die grosse Spirale im Atelier in Neyruz. Fotos Leonardo Bezzola. #4: Die grosse Spirale im Hof des Instituts für Immunologie, Basel. Fotograf unbekannt

<< | >> 1971 – 1973

The «Grosse Spirale» or «Doppel-Helix» is created in the courtyard of the Basel Institute for Immunology of F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Chaos 1, 1974, Lithographie, Museum Tinguely, Basel. #2: Jean Tinguely auf Chaos No 1 in Columbus, 1974, Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #3: JEAN TINGUELY, Chaos I, 1972, Radierung, Museum Tinguely, Basel

<< | >> 1973 – 1975

Making of the monumental sculpture «Chaos No. 1» in the Civic Mall in Columbus, Indiana, USA.

#1: JEAN TNGUELY, Plakat zu «Débricollages». #2: JEAN TINGUELY, Miostar, 1976, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. #3: JEAN TINGUELY, Bosch II, 1976, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. #2-3: Fotos Christian Baur

<< | >> November 1976

Exhibition «Débricollages» at the Galerie Bischofberger in Zurich, in which the visitor is encouraged to produce his/her own artwork.

#1: Tinguely vor Crocrodrome-Zeichnung, 1977. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #2: JEAN TINGUELY und BERNHARD LUGINBÜHL, Crocrodrome Modell, 1977, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. Foto Christian Baur

<< | >> May 1977

For the opening of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Jean Tinguely, Bernhard Luginbühl and Niki de Saint Phalle create the installation «Le Crocrodrome de Zig & Puce». Daniel Spoerri sets up a «Musée sentimental» inside the installation.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Brunnentüchlein, 1977, Museum Tinguely, Basel. #2-4: Einweihung des Brunnens mit Kamel, 1977. Fotos Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> June 1977

Inauguration of the «Fasnachtsbrunnen» (Fasnacht or Carnival Fountain) in Basel.

Katalog der Hammerausstellung - Doppelseiten Jean Tinguely, Daniel Spoerri, Sigmar Polke, Basel 1978

<< | >> September 1978

«Méta-Harmonie I» is created for the Hammer exhibition in Basel.

#1: Klamauk am Jo Siffert Mémorial - Bergrennen St.Ursanne-Les Rangiers, 1981. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #2: JEAN TINGUELY, Klamauk, Zinkographie, o.D., Privatsammlung

<< | >> May 1979

«Klamauk», a sound sculpture mounted on a tractor, and «Méta-Harmonie II» are shown for the first time in a show of importance, in the exhibition «Tinguely – Luginbühl» at the Städel, Frankfurt.

JEAN TINGUELY, Plakat der Ausstellung in Sénanque, 1981. Ausschnitt

<< | >> July 1981

Exhibition in the Abbaye de Sénanque, Tinguely shows for the first time his skull-sculptures.

#1-2: JEAN TINGUELY, Plakate Tate und Zürich, Museum Tinguely, Basel. #3: Jean Tinguely malt das Aussenplakat im Kunsthaus Zürich, 1982. Foto Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> 1982 – 1983

Retrospectives in Zurich (Kunsthaus), London (Tate Gallery), Brussels (Palais des Beaux-Arts) und Geneva (Musée d'Art et d'Histoire).
His triptych «Cenodoxus» is a central work in the exhibition in Zurich and in Geneva.

#1-4: Fontaine Igor Stravinsky, Paris, ca. 1983. Fotograf unbekannt

<< | >> March 1983

Inauguration of the «Fontaine Igor Stravinsky» in Paris, in collaboration with Niki de Saint Phalle.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Pit-Stop, 1984, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. Foto Christian Baur. #2-4: JEAN TINGUELY, Entwurfszeichnungen zu Pit-Stop, 1984, Privatsammlung

<< | >> February – April 1984

At Rungis, near Paris, he produces «Pit-Stop», a sculpture composed of parts of Formula 1 racing cars, commissioned by the Régie Renault.

#1: Jo Siffert auf Lotus-Ford 49, Training in Monza, 1968. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #2: JEAN TINGUELY, Fontaine Jo Siffert, 1983-84, Museum Tinguely, Basel. #3: Seppi Imhof und Jean Tinguely in Niederwangen mit Fotografie von Jo Siffert, 1981. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #4: JEAN TINGUELY, Fontaine Jo Siffert, 1983-84, Museum Tinguely, Basel

<< | >> June 1984

Inauguration of the «Fontaine Jo Siffert», Jean Tinguely’s gift to the town of Fribourg.
For the Seibu Museum in Japan, Tinguely creates «Méta-Harmonie III – Pandämonium».

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Méta-Harmonie IV Fatamorgana, 1985, im Museum Tinguely. Foto Cira Moro. #2-3: Arbeit an der Fatamorgana in der Fabrikhalle in Olten, 1985. Foto Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> 1985

«Méta Harmonie IV – Fatamorgana» is created in a disused factory hall of Von Roll AG in Olten for the exhibition at the Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung in Munich.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Mengele Totentanz, 1986, Museum Tinguely Basel. Installation 1987 in der Kirche San Samuele, Venedig. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #2-3: JEAN TINGUELY, Mengele Totentanz, 1986, Installation 2004 im Museum Tinguely, Basel. Fotos Christian Baur

<< | >> Autumn 1986

Tinguely creates his «Mengele-Totentanz,» using charred beams, burnt agricultural machinery, household appliances and animal skulls from a farmhouse in Neyruz that burned to the ground.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Utopia, 1987, Privatsammlung. #2: JEAN TINGUELY, Die Grosse Méta Maxi-Maxi Utopia, 1987, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. #3: Jean Tinguely und Pontus Hulten in Venedig, 1987. Foto Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> 1987

Creation of the monumental walk-in «Grosse Méta Maxi-Maxi Utopia» in a factory hall of Von Roll Ltd. in Klus. The sculpture is shown at the retrospective in Venice (Palazzo Grassi). The exhibition travels to Turin (Promotrice delle Belle Arti), Paris (Musée national d’art moderne at the Centre Georges Pompidou). In Paris, Tinguely exhibits for the first time «Dernière Collaboration avec Yves Klein» and the group of sculptures «Les Philosophes».

#1-2: JEAN TINGUELY und NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE, Le Grand Oiseau Amoureux, 1988, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle, Installation in der Verrerie, 1988. #3: JEAN TINGUELY, Le Safari de la Mort Moscovite, 1989, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle, vor der Verrerie, 1991. Fotos Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> January 1988

Buys the former bottle factory in La Verrerie in the Canton of Fribourg that serves him as workshop.

#1: Niki de Saint Phalle und Jean Tinguely mit: NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE und JEAN TINGUELY, Le Dragon, 1988, Sprengel Museum, Hannover, Schenkung Niki de Saint Phalle. Foto Leonardo Bezzola. #2: NIKI DE SAINT PHALLE und JEAN TINGUELY, Maquette de la fontaine de Château-Chinon, 1988, Fonds national d'art contemporain, Ministère de la culture et de la communication, Paris. Foto Jean-Michel Phéline. #3-5: Niki de Saint Phalle und Jean Tinguely in Château-Chinon, 1988. Fotos Laurent Condominas

<< | >> March 1988

Inauguration of the «Fontaine de Château-Chinon», made in collaboration with Niki de Saint Phalle. The fountain was commissioned by the French President François Mitterrand.

#1: Jean Tinguely mit: JEAN TINGUELY, Le retable des petits bêtes, 1989, Musée d'art et d'histoire, Fribourg. Foto Eliane Laubscher. #2: Jean Tinguely 1991 im Musée d'art et d'histoire, Fribourg, mit JEAN TINGUELY, Méta-Maxi, 1986. Foto F. Emmenegger

<< | >> 1990

A Tinguely exhibition is held at the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow. The expanded Moscow exhibition is shown in 1991 at the Musée d'Art et d'Histoire in Fribourg. At these exhibitions Tinguely shows his «Rétable de l’abondance occidentale et du mercantilisme totalitaire».

#1: Eröffnung des Kulturgüterzuges, 1991. Foto Kurt Wyss. #2: Jean Tingely entwirft den Luminator, 1991. Fotograf unbekannt. #3: JEAN TINGUELY, Luminator, 1991, in der Messehalle. Foto Christian Baur. #4: Jean Tinguely, 1991. Foto Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> Juni 1991

«Kulturgüterzug», Klaus Littmanns installation by Jean Tinguely in collaboration with Eva Aeppli, Bernhard and Iwan Luginbühl, Jim Whiting, Milena Palakarkina, Daniel Spoerri and Ben Vautier is presented at an exhibition at ART Basel.

The large lamp sculpture is produced for the inauguration in an empty hall of the Fair.
Creation of «La Cascade», a large hanging sculpture, in Charlotte/North Carolina, USA.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Plakat zur Ausstellung in Wien, 1991. Ausschnitt #2: JEAN TINGUELY, La fontaine de la mort, 1991, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. Ausschnitt. Foto Christian Baur

<< | >> Summer 1991

«Nachtschattengewächse», the last exhibition personally installed by Tinguely, is held at the Kunsthaus, Vienna.

#1: JEAN TINGUELY, Hippopotamus, 1991, Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle. Foto Christian Baur. #2: Jean Tinguely in Knokke, 1986. Foto Eric Préau. #3: Jean Tinguely, 1988. Foto Leonardo Bezzola

<< | >> 1991

On August 30, 1991, Jean Tinguely dies at the Inselspital in Berne.