Jean Tinguely La Jalousie II [Blind Jealousy II] 1961 © ADAGP, Paris and DACS, London 2022.


Born 1925
Died 1991
Nationalities French
Birth place Paris
Death place San Diego

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

Glossary terms

New Realism

Art of the 1960s that incorporates found objects, often to pass comment on society. The movement is particularly associated with France, where it is known as Nouveau Réalisme. Exponents included Yves Klein and Jean Tinguely.


A term lifted from the French word for ‘unstick’, it is most commonly applied to artworks where an original image is cut, torn, or removed from its original content. The phrase generally refers to the work of French Nouveau Réalists, (New Realists) who ripped old posters from walls and mounted them onto canvas.