Tokyo Gal

Jean Tinguely

19 January 1978

Electric motor, flywheel, radio parts, feather. Courtesy: The David Bermant Foundation: Color, Light, Motion.

Within the context of kinetic art, Tinguely’s work distinguishes itself through its robust humour.

It also owes much to his interest in Dada, and other early avant-garde movements, as well as his interest in the possibilities of using electric motors to make elements of his sculptures move, often at great speed.

His playful and anarchic tendencies found their most vivid expression in a number of works which he designed to self-destruct, and which can now only be appreciated in documentation, such as photographs and film.

Tokyo Gal is an excellent example of his humour and his fascination with the use of rapidly moving parts. The powered flywheel, moving the feather and other elements, together with the staccato noises produced by the radio parts, combine to produce a comic and affectionate abstract representation of the girl of the title.