Jean Tinguely Swiss

Not on view

A key figure in the history of kinetic art, Tinguely conceived of Narva as a motorized assemblage made of metal and rubber scraps pilfered from cars and carriages and attached to metal rods, a haphazard mechanical body that barely holds together when in motion. (For conservation purposes, it is now rarely activated.) Operational yet dysfunctional, the sculpture harks back to the absurdity of the Dada movement that emerged in the artist’s native Switzerland during World War I. It also suggests his contribution to the French movement called Nouveau Réalisme, which collapsed traditional boundaries between art and life and valued destruction as much as creation. Despite its dystopian character, Narva appeared in the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair, on the same plot of land as the now-iconic Space Needle.

Narva, Jean Tinguely (Swiss, 1925–1991), Steel bars, metal wheel, tubes, cast iron, wire, aluminum, string, electric motor 220 v

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