Jean Tinguely: Hauser & Wirth at Frieze Masters, London

Jean Tinguely: Hauser & Wirth at Frieze Masters, London

Running alongside the contemporary art fair Frieze London, Frieze Masters offers a unique view of the relationship between old and new art. Visitors to Booth B5 at the fair this year will be able to enjoy a new solo presentation of works by Swiss artist Jean Tinguely, staged by Hauser & Wirth. Best known for his kinetic mechanical sculptures, Tinguely’s (1925 – 1991) work explores the aesthetics of movement and utilses found objects in a witty and whimsical way.

Many important pieces will be on show, including his early masterpiece from 1960, La Tour (Berner Zytglogge). This sculpture references the medieval Zytglogge bell tower in Bern’s Old City and the movement mimics the functionality of a clock. Exhibited for the first time in public for 16 years, the composition of the work is fun and exudes good humour. Wit and satire are a large part of Tinguely’s work: the robotic, moving sculptures are a caricature of a utilitarian, mechanical world and he presents the process of creation as a mechanised action, questioning to what end we make art.

Another piece that displays Tinguely’s trademark wit is Métamatic (1959 – 1960), one of Tinguely’s celebrated and extremely rare drawing machines. These works offer another critque on society and the art world, upending traditional notions of the artist’s role in creation. Created in Paris as Abstract Expressionism was growing in popularity, this machine allows the operator to produce an abstract drawing automatically. Hauser & Wirth will also present Jean Tinguely’s collaboration with Yves Klein, La vitesse totale (Bleu affolé) (1958). The work is a joyous marriage of Klein’s theories of immateriality and Tinguely’s drive to imbue sculpture with movement.

Jean Tinguely: Hauser & Wirth, Frieze Masters, 15 – 19 October, Booth B5 Regent’s Park, London. For more information visit

1. Yves Klein / Jean Tinguely, La Vitesse totale (Bleu affolé), 1958. Courtesy of Hauser & Wirth.

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