Jean Tinguely: Retrospective


A comprehensive survey of Jean Tinguely’s work and life.


ISBN: 9783863358235 Category:

Hans-Christian von Herrmann, Dominik Müller, Johan Pas, Margriet Schavemaker, Barbara Til, Beat Wismer, Thekla Zell


This publication offers an extensive overview of the work and life of Jean Tinguely, the Swiss artist who was instrumental in the development of kinetic art. While Tinguely’s mechanical metal sculptures may seem witty and playful, their charming absurdity has a dark side: he contrasts play, pleasure and irony with aggression, self-destruction and a fear of death in an engaging and compelling oeuvre. In contrast to the canonic Tinguely discourse, that largely concentrates on the playful, kinetic aspects of his machines, this study will be the first-ever to scrutinize the more topical, theoretical, interdisciplinary and critical aspects of his work. Renowned authors on the subject of 1960s art will discuss the ambiguous nature of Tinguely’s work. They will, for instance, examine the infectious cheerfulness of the machines that connects with a darker, more ambivalent view of human existence and death; the predisposition towards – and rejection of – technological advances; Tinguely’s utopian yet simultaneously dystopian vision of society; his love of art history and the museum paired with anti-institutional critique and, of course, his paradoxical relationship to materiality/production and destruction. The publication ends with a panel discussion of the meaning of Tinguely for visual art and the museum in the 21st century.

Additional information

Weight 1340 g
Dimensions 23.5 x 28.9 cm
Publisher name Walther & Franz König
Publication date 1 October 2016
Number of pages 248
Format Hardback
Dimensions 23.5 x 28.9 cm
Weight 1340 g


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Kaira M. Cabañas is an art historian and visiting professor in the Departamento de Letras at Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro. Hans-Christian von Herrmann has been a professor of literature at TU Berlin since 2011. Dominik Müller is Exhibition Manager at the Kunstmuseum, Lucerne. Johan Pas lectures in modern and contemporary art history at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp. Margriet Schavemaker is Head of Collections and Research at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Barbara Til is Deputy Head of Collections at the Museum Kunstpalast, Düsseldorf. Beat Wismer is the General Director of the Stiftung Museum. Thekla Zell is an art historian.