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

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

  • Words:
    Dianne Harris
  • Photograph:
    Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

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  • Words:
    Dianne Harris
  • Photograph:
    Robert Doisneau/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images
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