Bricolages et Débri(s)collages — Jean Tinguely


Collage, installation, sculpture, sound - music...

Bricolages et Débri(s)collages
Jean Tinguely

Past: September 13 → October 20, 2019

After having unveiled the Méta Reliefs and the Méta Matics of the 50s in 2012, then the sculptures from the so-called “Fool period” of the 60s in 2016, Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois Gallery is interested in the work from the 70s of the Swiss artist Jean Tinguely. This decade shows an explosion of colors, fantasy, crazy projects like the Cyclop of Milly-la-Forêt, and the carnival processions! Throughout the 70s, Jean Tinguely continues to challenge artistic expectations. He demonstrates his ability to surprise again and again the art world and the public. His works are comical, inventive, rebellious but above all fun, encouraging everyone to smile and laugh.

His artistic gestures are both ridiculous and breathtaking in their inventiveness and spirit. In contrast to the seriousness that began to envelop the contemporary art of that time, Jean Tinguely, Niki de Saint Phalle and their colleagues are distinguished by their attachment to parody, sharing the same passion for the show, the monumental and the subversive.

Tinguely’s work in the 1970s seems to be particularly focused on keeping the Dada spirit alive. As a neo-Dadaist, Tinguely reproduces one of Duchamp’s most famous gestures: stripping a tool of its utility and transforming it into something else, as evidenced by the work Hommage à Dada-Max (1974), a light sculpture involving four feathers — red, blue, yellow and green — attached to an electric hedge trimmer motor. Tinguely combines objects with do-it-yourself tools — drills, wrenches, hammers, saws — placing scrap metal sculptures on pedestals, imitating high-art in a constant back-and-forth between functionality and art, the frivolous movements exacerbating the joke. In Miostar No.1, Sans Titre and Bosch No.1, Tinguely combines a drill and a rotating wheel in a variety of configurations. When the drills begin to work, they trigger an absurd, ultimately unnecessary and repetitive rotation of the wheel to which they are attached. This clumsy but amusing process indicates the extreme obsolescence of the mechanical object. Exhibited together, these works offer a cacophony of sounds and movements like an exceptional range of colors.

Throughout his career, Tinguely’s experimental work oscillates between life and art. In this perspective Tinguely creates a series of lamps more directly related to real life, animating the public space by movement, color and light.

Sophisticated or theatrical in their presentation, Tinguely’s lamps from the 70s borrowed their aesthetics from its first small sculptures-machines, combining a variety of metal parts with colored bulbs. Lampe Théière (1972), for example, imitates the shape of a tree branch transformed into a standing lamp.

The metal structure becomes the support of an eclectic combination of absurd objects, including a teapot, feathers, a white metal shade. The seven bulbs of different colors at the top of the artwork offer rainbow-like lighting. A joyous and chromatic work, representative of the humor, the subversive mischievousness and the electric energy of this radically inventive artist.

“Bricolages et Débri(s)collages” refers to the title of the exhibition “Débricollages”, a wordplay combining debris, oddities and collages, that the Bischofberger Gallery in Zurich dedicated to Tinguely in 1974. It presents more than a dozen works never shown in France. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog richly illustrated and prefaced by Kyla McDonald, curator of the recent and magnificent retrospective of Niki de Saint Phalle at the Beaux-Arts in Mons.

  • Opening Thursday, September 12, 2019 6 PM → 9 PM
06 St Germain Zoom in 06 St Germain Zoom out

33/36, rue de Seine

75006 Paris

T. 01 46 34 61 07 — F. 01 43 25 18 80


Opening hours

Every day except Sunday, 10 AM – 5 PM

The artist

  • Jean Tinguely