Peer ReviewArtist and co-founder of London’s Kinetica Museum Dianne Harris on the madcap genius of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.

Peer ReviewArtist and co-founder of London’s Kinetica Museum Dianne Harris on the madcap genius of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely.

It was really Jean Tinguely who invented and introduced the idea of performative art. From the 1950s onwards, he created sculptural machines that moved independently and created their own artworks and, in doing so, he recreated the role of the artist. One sculpture, Homage to New York, was built to destroy itself. He also made many Métamatic sculptures, which were autonomous art robots: They used a mechanical arm to make abstract drawings. The intrigue and uncertainty of what these machines would produce was pivotal to the development of art of future generations and paved the way for artists to work with new technologies.

I co-founded Kinetica Museum with Tony Langford in 2006. Since leaving art school in the early ’90s I had been working within the film industry; I worked on Franke...

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