Fascinated by mechanics since childhood, Tinguely built his first mobile metallic wire sculptures in 1954. Some are manually activated through simple handles pulling wheels; and others use electric engines hidden behind the frame like Sprit – Bleu, Ocre et Vert, created in 1955 and quickly exhibited in the framework of the exhibition Jean Tinguely, "Méta-Mécaniques" organized the same year at the Samlaren gallery of Stockholm.
In this polychromatic composition, emblematic of the important researches conducted by Tinguely, seven colorful elements, kept at distance from a carefully chosen wood panel, furtively evolve in space thanks to a discreet motorized mechanism. Sprit – Bleu, Ocre et Vert undeniably evokes the work of great masters of modern abstraction while going beyond their contribution, especially by its loose and playful dimension. With this "meta-mechanical" composition, "meta" being used in the sense of "beyond", Tinguely pushed the boundaries of painting, redefining the relationship of art to the world with a unique moving painting. Because let's not forget it is a painting, as Tinguely reminded all throughout his career, constantly stating he created "paintings" and that the machine was merely a "frame".
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