Collection
Museum Tinguely

Collection of Museum Tinguely

Works and work groups belonging to all phases of Jean Tinguely’s career are to be found in the museum's collection. Along with selected temporary loans, they afford the visitor an extensive view of the artist’s career. Apart from sculptures, the collection furthermore comprises a large number of drawings and letter-drawings, documents, exhibition posters, catalogues and documentation such as photographs. In the measure of the possible all the exhibits are accessible to the public and regularly shown, be it in the permanent collection or as loans to exhibitions worldwide.

The museum’s collections are the result of a generous donation by the artist’s widow, Niki de Saint Phalle, made on the occasion of its foundation, a donation of works from the Roche collection, as well as several other gifts and acquisitions.

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Jean Tinguely


Rotozaza No. 2

1967

Material / technique: Welded scrap iron, Plexiglas, bicycle chain, 110V electric motor
Size: c. 230 x 800 x 400 cm
Inv.Number: 11218
Catalog: Bischofberger 1154
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel

“Rotozaza No. 2” was created in 1967 for the Second World Congress on Communication in a Changing World, which took place at New York University’s Loeb Student Center. On 19 October 1967 Jean Tinguely presented to an audience of 300 a machine that smashed beer bottles. Its forerunner, the ball-playing machine “Rotozaza No. 1”, debuted in 1967 at Galerie Alexandre Iola in Paris. The first drawings for the machine date back to 1965. “Rotozaza No. 3” was put on display in the shop window of the Loeb department store in Bern in October 1969. There, it steadily smashed plates instead of the beer bottles that were the fodder for No. 2. No. 3 was subsequently destroyed. The “Rotozaza” machines were based on the idea of contrasting useful, productive industrial machinery with Tinguely’s machine-sculptures, which produce nothing but artistic meaning. The machine-sculptures address the problem of over-production in industrial society and its inexorable spewing out of products both meaningful and meaningless that seduce the susceptible consumer into devoting too much energy to them. At the same time, the sculptures appeal to the human instinct for play, spiriting viewers away to a carefree paradise and thus tempting them to participate in the artwork.