Artwork by Jean Tinguely,  Méta

Jean Tinguely

Jean Tinguely and K.G. Pontus Hultén, “Méta” (363 page book, presented within a briefcase-bound portfolio with handle and metal locking catch), including within:

Jean Tinguely, “Meta-Matic No. 6” (coloured pencil drawing, signed along the lower edge, stamped and inscribed “Peinture exécutée en collaboration avec ‘Meta-Matic No. 6’ de Tinguely par Björn Springfeldt date “13.4.1974” lieu Stockholm” on the reverse, 12 ins x 8, tipped within the portfolio)


“Sounds Belonging to Pontus Hultén’s book on Jean Tinguely’s work, “Méta” (vinyl 33 1/3 rpm record)
12.25 x 9.5 x 1.25 ins ( 31.1 x 24.1 x 3.2 cms ) ( overall )

Auction Estimate: $1,500.00$1,200.00 - $1,500.00

Price Realized $720.00
Sale date: December 15th 2020

Acquired directly from Walter Moos, Toronto
A Private Canadian Collection
Méta is a multi-media work created by Jean Tinguely that revisits his most notable sculpture series of the late 1950s and early 60s, Métamatics. These sculptures were essentially machines that produced abstract drawings by means of a motor-driven arm that holds drawing tools against a piece of paper. The result is a random composition of lines and dots in colours chosen by the user. The drawings that the Métamatics produced resemble and purposely mimic mid-century abstraction. This 1973-74 artwork Méta is a compilation of various elements that employ this theme and technique: two abstract “méta” drawings, a book entitled “Méta” written by Tinguely and K.G. Pontus Hultén, and a vinyl record, all contained in a decorated briefcase-bound portfolio. Through this influential series of works, Tinguely not only problematised the introduction of the robotic machine into our society, but also questioned the role of the artist, the artwork and the viewer.

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Jean Tinguely
(1925 - 1991)

Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely had a very active artistic career, mingling in various avant-garde art circles and creating attention-grabbing works. Born in Fribourg, Tinguely grew up in Basel, but moved to France in 1952 with his first wife, fellow Swiss artist Eva Aeppli. He was one of the artists who signed the New Realist's manifesto (Nouveau réalisme) in 1960. The same year, he and his wife separated, and he met Niki de Saint Phalle, whom he would eventually marry in 1971.

Tinguely worked at a rapid pace in the French capital and produced several different groups of kinetic relief and wire sculptures. His art was a cynical commentary on automation and the technological overproduction of material goods. With their clanking, juddering, and underdeveloped mechanisms, the kinetic works were constantly changing and hence were as much a product of chance as of design. These kinetic sculptures, known officially as Metamechanics, were an extension of the Dada movement into the later part of the twentieth century.

His best-known work was a self-destroying sculpture titled Homage to New York (1960), located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City. Although it only partially self-destructed, he managed to successfully accomplish this goal in his later work, Study for an End of the World No. 2 (1962), in front of an audience gathered in the Nevada desert. Much of his later career was spent creating large public art installations, often collaborating with Niki de Saint Phalle.