Chaos ex machina: The Art of Jean Tinguely and the Documentary Image

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This chapter explores the relations between documentary film forms and Jean Tinguely’s auto-destructive, kinetic, and architectural sculptures. In particular, it examines: the contrasting approaches to filming Tinguely’s famed 'Homage to New York' in D.A. Pennebaker’s Breaking it Up at the Museum (1960) and Robert Breer’s Homage to Jean Tinguely’s Homage to New York (1960); the formal strategies at play in Hiroshi Teshigahara’s Sculpture Mouvante (1963); and the presence of Tinguely’s 'Le Cyclop' in Jean-Luc Godard and Anne-Marie Miéville’s The Old Place (2000). In their respective engagements with Tinguely’s work, the chapter argues that such films expand the conventional notion of the documentary by rendering it as a modern art form in its own right, comprising associative montage techniques and  found, appropriated, ‘readymade’, and ephemeral images.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationScreening the Art World
EditorsTemenuga Trifonova
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9789048553662
ISBN (Print)9789463724852
Publication statusPublished - 17 Mar 2022

Publication series

NameFraming Film
PublisherAmsterdam University Press


  • Art Documentary
  • Destruction in Art
  • Jean Tinguely
  • MoMA
  • Modernism
  • Kinetic Art

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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