Jean Tinguely
Méta-Maxi, 1986

  • Iron, Wood, various materials, motor
  • 340 x 1260 x 430 cm
  • Acquired in 1997

Tinguely reaped great international success for the first time in New York, when he presented a massive ensemble of machines that destroy themselves for a short period on the evening of 17 March 1960. He called this project Hommage à New York. From then on, Tinguely mainly dedicated himself to excessive, anarchist aspects and the explosive political impact of large-scale public sculptures which, like the small-scale sculptural collages, are created from the appropriated by-products of capitalist systems of production, the refuse of consumer society. In doing this, he exposed his work on the art market to an international risk by readily taking upon himself the questionable nature of the future development and acceptance of his works. Tinguely’s sculptures evoke the observer’s senses in a number of ways: seeing, hearing, smelling, feeling and moving around the sculpture. The large, kinetic sculptures created around 1980, which address aspects of music in different ways as chaotic scores, are counted among his most important works. Also in the case of the large Méta-Maxi sculpture the viewer sees himself confronted with a mechanical system of wheels and cogs, whereby the theatrical effects of the work show Tinguely’s tendencies towards Performativity: the metal parts collide stoically with each other like a peasant orchestra, with a piano appearing to act as their conductor at their head.

Jean Tinguely

* 1925 Fribourg, CH
† 1991 Bern, CH

Related artworks

Sculpture 92 Artworks


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