Collection Online of Museum Tinguely

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Jean Tinguely


Méta-Harmonie IV

Material / technique: Iron frame, wooden wheels, plastic parts, percussion instruments, light bulbs, electric motors
Size: 420 x 1250 x 220 cm
Inv.Number: 11281
Catalog: Bischofberger 0666
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel

In January 1985 Tinguely discovered in the abandoned factory halls of the Von Roll company in Olten a store of colour wood casting models that were designed to be burned during an aerial defence exercise. The artist was under enormous time pressure and this find was thus a stroke of luck, meaning he could now finally venture to create a large wheelwork without constantly having to worry about dimensions, stability and weight. He began to work at a hectic pace for several days. In three frameworks over four metres in height, atop old wheels, he mounted his wooden wheel forms, relatively lightweight compared with iron wheels, first distributing the largest pieces, and then smaller found objects of all kinds, and finally percussion instruments and a cow bell. The result was a massive Méta-Harmony. Tinguely built this sculpture intuitively without any plans or working drawings. He affixed a large blue wheel to a base and put the whole thing inside the machine stand. He arranged the wheel mechanism so that it would be easy to dismantle again into its individual parts and was thus transportable for exhibition purposes. On 29 August 1985 he dedicated his “Fatamorgana“ with a fireworks display at the Von Roll factory, and soon thereafter had it transported to Munich for its first showing. He commented: “The fourth ‘Fatamorgana’ (so christened by Seppi) is colourful-juicy-more moaning in sound – visually more powerful – but in terms of sound softer.” Its muted, reserved tonal material, interspersed with individual sharper strikes, is new, as are the generally slower movement sequences.

Pictures in our Collection

The following applies for uses of pictures in relation to our collection:
Museum Tinguely does not own any copyright in works by Jean Tinguely or other artists in the collection. The clarification of these rights and payment in respect of them is a matter for the applicant. In Switzerland, the collecting society responsible for this is ProLitteris, Zurich (link website: Museum Tinguely undertakes no liability for third party claims arising from infringement of copyright and personality rights.

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.

>> Biography of Jean Tinguely

>> History of the collection