Thursday, April 4, 2013

Jean Tinguely and Nouveau Realisme

“Just as one can compose colors or forms, so one can compose motions.” —-Alexander Calder
       In my other post, I mentioned that traditional oil paint was not the only type of media that Nouveau Realisme. Sculpture was also used, and this was the chosen media for Jean Tinguely in his work Homage to New York. The work falls under the category of "kinetic art," which is the term used for any form of art that incorporates motion, either real or simulated.
       The work itself is a mish-mash of a variety of parts that Tinguely scrounged from around New York. When set in motion, the components began working, designed to finish with the work's destruction at the climax. In reality, Homage to New York only worked partially and it started a fire that had to be put out by the New York Fire Department. Much like Yves Klein's anthropometries, Homage to New York was meant to portray the causes of World War II: mainly materialism and militarism. Therefore, by destroying a work constructed out of scrap materials, Tinguely protested against the brutality of that global conflict.
       While Homage to New York had a destructive conclusion, the idea of a machine running through a sequence of its individual parts is similar to that of a Rube Goldberg machine.

       For more on the Rube Goldberg machine, visit

       For a biography on Tinguely's life, visit

       There are lots of different types of motion. For motion from a physics standpoint, check out

       There is also a wide variety of kinetic sculptures on YouTube.

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