His works, which he called Métamatics, are purposely imperfect while still functioning. The fundamental principle of all of Tinguely’s sculptures is movement. As the artist put it in a manifesto, published in 1959, “everything moves, there is no such thing as standing still”.
They are his ironic statement on the attempt by engineers and mechanics to create perfect machines.
Many of his constructions are monumental, suitable only for open spaces or museums with adequate space. He did also create more manageable pieces for collectors, such as the machine-sculpture Für Niels (For Niels) which is coming up for sale at Lehr in Berlin on October 29.
Like his larger constructions, it is a welded conglomeration of steel, iron and wire, powered by an electric motor and was made in 1980. It was consigned by a collector from Hesse and, as the catalogue notes, is in good working order, there are, however, some oil stains on the base.