Jean Tinguely

French / Swiss (1925 - 1991)
Jean Tinguely La Jalousie II [Blind Jealousy II] 1961 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2017.


Born 1925
Died 1991
Nationalities French

Tinguely was born in Switzerland. He studied in Basel from 1941 to 1945 and moved to Paris in 1953. Tinguely was one of a number of artists of the period who explored movement, in what became known as Kinetic art. From the mid-1950s he made strange machines, some of which involved radios, lights and motors while others relied on the viewer to turn a crank. Tinguely used everyday materials and junk to explore ideas of motion, impermanence and accident. With their energetic displays of pointless activity, his machines satirise technology and challenge the concept of mechanisation as a positive force in society.

Glossary terms

  • Artworks with moving components or art that gives the impression of movement through optical effects, as with some examples of Op Art.