The Constructivists p2
The Development of Constructivism:.The Realist Manifesto and Its Implication. To a significant extent, Constructivism was a direct opposite of Dada as the underlying principles of both artistic movements were directly at odds with each other. Whereas Dada emphasized pessimism and the absurdity of life in a techno-scientific age, turning to primitive and irrationalist motifs and narratives for its inspiration, the Constructivists resolved to assert their “acceptance of the scientific age and its spirit” (Gabo 180) as positive forces to be included in artistic concepts of reality. Nevertheless, both styles shared the conviction that art should be non-objective, insofar as reality behind visual phenomena was necessarily intersubjective. Whereas in the case of Dada this interpretation gave rise to emphasis on chaotic spontaneity and simultaneity, the Constructivists’ narrative emphasized the logically based ‘construction’ of space-time continuum around the artist as the major method for uncovering “infinite variety of forces, depths and aspects never seen and only faintly felt” (180) that appeared to transcend the ‘common-sense’ concepts of space and time. Consequently, while the Dadaists dismissed science as an oppressive and rigid force, the Constructivists enthusiastically embraced it, as an instrument of a conscious transformation of space and time.
The rise of Constructivism was both similar and sharply different from the development of Dadaism. Constructivism arose as the result of the avant-garde artists’ dissatisfaction with the orthodox conceptualization of the ‘objective’ space and time. As early as 1912, such prominent cubists as Gleizes and Metzinger used the verbs ‘to construct’ and ‘to design,’ to refer to the need “to determine by our own activity the dynamism of the form” (Gleizes and Metzinger 31). Far later, in 1925, El Lissitzky, one of the leading figures of Russian (Soviet) Constructivism, effectively repeated this expression, noting that the “revolution in art [was] begun by giving form to the elements of time, space, of tempo, of rhythm, of movement” (qtd. in Railing 201). Therefore, the key idea behind Constructivism, in general, seems to be connected with the notion of “art as manifestation of consciousness,” which may be traced back to Hegelian formulations of the World Spirit (Railing 201).
Nevertheless, a true flourishing of Constructivism may be dated to the 1920s, when the artistic theories of the group that coalesced around several major theoreticians of the ‘constructive principle’ managed to gain the quasi-official recognition in Soviet artistic circles. The group, formed in 1921 by several young sculptors and painters, called itself “the First Working Group of Constructivists,” and in May of 1922 its aesthetic principles were made more broadly known to the world after both Russian Constructivists and their sympathizers in Germany (Hans Richter, Otto Freundlich, Raoul Hausmann) and the Netherlands (Cornelius van Eesteren) met in Düsseldorf in order to participate in the International Constructivism exhibition held in that city (193). From this moment onwards, the existence of an international Constructivist movement and corresponding artistic style may be posited.
The Realist Manifesto represented the pinnacle of Constructivists’ thought with respect to the assertion of the relevance of movement as the underlying principle of art. From the very outset, the Constructivists attempted to break with the entrenched traditions that emphasized the inherently static nature of art. In the words of The Realist Manifesto, they purport to “renounce the thousand-year-old delusion in art that held the static rhythms as the only elements of plastic and pictorial arts” (Gabo 152). This formulation points toward the great emphasis placed by Constructivists on the rendition and representation of movement in their artworks. As noted by Railing, both The Realist Manifesto and subsequent publications by Russian Constructivists stressed the importance of rhythm as the core principle of any plastic or architectural construction. As asserted by such prominent Constructivists as Medunetskii and Stenberg brothers in their 1922 Report on Constructivism, “the elements of engineering in the construction are at the same time the organizing principle of its rhythm” (q.v.. in Railing 195). This principle would prove to be the key precept of the Constructivist-based kinetic art.
The Russian Constructivism: Moholy-Nagy, Tatlin and Gabo. As the Russian school of Constructivism played an instrumental role in the shaping of this artistic style, it is necessary to pay specific attention to its growth and development. In particular, the contributions by such artists as Moholy-Nagy, Tatlin and Gabo should be properly evaluated, as their artworks were predominantly kinetic-based. Thus, a brief analysis of some of these artists’ oeuvres will be presented here.
As expounded by Moholy-Nagy himself in his article, In Defense of “Abstract” Art (published in 1945), the most important feature of the Constructivists’ concept of kinetic art may be summarized by the term of “vision in motion” (Moholy-Nagy 76). Here, Moholy-Nagy offers a number of colorful, yet prescient, characteristics that he finds appropriate to attach to this aesthetic principle, to underscore its relevance:
…Vision in motion is simultaneous grasp. Simultaneous grasp is creative performance- feeling, thinking, and seeing in relationship …. This is valid for physical vision as well as for the abstract. (76)
Hence, Moholy-Nagy’s concept of mobile/kinetic art was necessarily intertwined with the conceptualization of movement as the intrinsic characteristic of any avant-garde artwork worthy of that name. The artist’s own works generally conform to these standards; in particular, his Light Machine presents an impression of the constant movement of light through the machine’s translucent surface. Nevertheless, Moholy-Nagy’s works are, in general, less concerned with an emphasis on changes in space-time continuum than those by some of his Constructivist contemporaries.
Two of them, Naum Gabo and Vladimir Tatlin, merit particular attention here. Gabo placed a special stress on the essential flexibility and fluidity of space-time that could not “be measured or defined by solid masses” (Cleaver 236). The artist felt that the flow of time, as one of the major constituents of reality around us, should be incorporated in plastic forms in order to provide the sense of “actual or illusionary motion” to the audience (Cleaver 236). Using the ‘kinetic rhythms’ already referred to in the 1920s Constructivists’ manifestoes (see above), Gabo attempted to integrate the illusion of motion in even the most statuesque of his sculptures .
Cleaver refers, in particular to Gabo’s Translucent Variation of Spheric Theme (presented in 1951, as a variation of the 1937 original work) as to the spectacular example of the sculptor’s integration of kinetic rhythms in the essentially static artwork. The Translucent Variation basically consists of “undulating plastic planes, scored to reveal their surfaces…ordering space without displacing it, eventually merging together in an endless continuity” (Cleaver 236). While Calder’s ‘mechanized’ approach towards rendition of motion in kinetic art proved to be more successful, Gabo’s contribution to the development of the very concept of kinetic sculpture cannot be underestimated.
Finally, the novelty of Vladimir Tatlin’s take on kinetic art appears to consist in integrating kinetic rhythms with more architecture-based constructions. In particular, his Tower, dedicated to the anniversary of the Comintern creation, embodies the very principle of kinetic rhythms by its “constant and differentiated layers of motion” (Nisbet 123). However, while the Tower is one of Tatlin’s most famous works, his earlier kinetic pieces were more sculptural in their design and layout. In particular, Tatlin’s 1913-1914 ‘counter-reliefs’ are the very first steps of Russian Constructivism and represent the first examples of the ‘hanging mobile’ constructions that mold space in “a dynamic construction that was later given real movement” (Gabriel 39). In this sense, Tatlin may be considered as a true founding figure of the Constructivists’ kinetic art.
The Bauhaus and Constructivism: Uneasy Encounters. The influence of Russian Constructivism upon the development of the Bauhaus kinetic art is well documented. For instance, Rickey asserts that Gabo’s notions of space-time movement and changes had impact upon the development of several Bauhaus participants. Paul Klee, one of the Bauhaus teachers, set up experiments with small-scale mobiles at his studio, while his Pedagogical Sketchbook demonstrates significant influences of the Constructivists’ theoreticians (Rickey 221). This influence was further solidified with the 1927 publication of Malevich’s The Non-Objective World in the Bauhaus publishing enterprise, which was specifically influenced by the Constructivists Rodchenko’s, theorizing of the line as “the functional module” of artistic construction that would enable the artist to “construct and create” the new spatial-temporal realities (Railing 195).
Chapter 4: Calder’s Kinetic Sculpture
The Artist’s Biography. Alexander Calder belonged to the well-established family of artists, with his father, Stirling Calder (1870-1945) having played a great role in the Gilded Age Philadelphia artistic development. His grandfather, Alexander Milne Calder (1846-1923), participated in the number of ambitious Neo-Classical projects of the post-Civil War America. Both at the forefront of their eras’ most advanced forms of plastic arts, they predisposed the young Calder toward the keen interest to the modernist sculptural forms.
However, the beginning of Calder’s career did not demonstrate any signs of his future predilections. He graduated from Stevens Institute of Technology in 1919, subsequently working as a hydraulic engineer and then holding a variety of engineering occupations. According to Calder’s own admission, the rapid turnabout of his attitude to the world and himself took place in June 1922 when he was employed as a mechanic at the H.F. Alexander, a vessel traveling between San Francisco and New York City. After witnessing a spectacularly beautiful sunrise and the setting of the moon that transpired simultaneously, Calder decided to take on an artistic career (Calder 54-55). While it took him some years before he turned toward plastic arts as opposed to the pictorial ones, Calder’s experience as a painter in the early 1920s enabled him to achieve a more intimate understanding of the surrounding reality. His journalistic employment at that time enabled him to get acquainted with the life of the circus, which was to become the major subject in his subsequent artistic expressions.
Calder’s first experiments with mobile/kinetic art may be dated to 1925-1926, when he “made a miniature circus peopled by various mobile subjects fashioned from wire and accompanied by sound” (Gabriel 40). This assemblage of figurines would later be known as the Cirque Calder, becoming a landmark feature of Calder’s personal artistic style. The improvised performances held by Cirque Calder would soon become popular with both the Parisian avant-garde and the New York City artistic community, gaining Calder the reputation of an enthusiastic innovator.
The development of the large-scale kinetic sculpture, generally dubbed as ‘mobiles,’ was increasingly undertaken by Calder after 1928, and especially after 1931, when the first commissions for large-scale or even truly monumental mobiles were issued to him. However, it was in the post-WW II period when Calder’s works received a truly triumphal recognition by both the public and mainstream artistic authorities. Several of his mobiles became the adornment of such major public and international buildings and institutions as UNESCO (La Spirale), JFK Airport (125), or the Aztec Stadium (Mexico City, El sol rojo, 1968). By the time Calder died in 1976, his contribution to the development of kinetic art was duly acknowledged by the majority of commentators.
Conflicting Influences: Constructivism and Dada in Calder’s Work. Calder’s works took on monumental proportions after his return to the United States in 1933. In particular, Hello Girls, presented in 1964 at the Los Angeles Museum of Art, is a fairly bulky sculpture consisting of three separate multicolored elements, all of which are placed in a pond, that in turn is surrounded by a path-like castles with a moat. The first one has a sizeable triangular base with several rods and arms possessing disks and shapes outlined in black, yellow, white and red. These arms clank and spin in the wind as jets of water pour onto them, leading to an increase in their motion’s intensity. The second ‘girl’ sculpture is generally smaller, with only one rod and two disks rendered in black and blue floating above it. The shapes are a flat black disk and a flat blue stylized triangle. The third sculpture of the trio was recently restored to its original shape. This sculpture’s armature and rod are balanced on the respective triangle and are accompanied with two black disks, one at each side, as well as by the red and the white disks, accordingly. Due to the sound scheme proposed by Calder, the sound of water, the clanking of metal, shadows and reflections in the pool, even the external traffic noise, would naturally become a part of the visitors’ experience of Hello Girls.
In this sculpture, Calder added a reflecting pool that is ever changing with clouds, trees and moving structures; the sounds of the water and busy street and the movement of the jets of water greatly increased Calder’s design aesthetic appeal. Having achieved the new layer of complexity, Hello Girls demonstrates Calder’s genius and mastery of the art of kinetic sculpture.
Several major influences of both Dadaism and Constructivism may be discerned on Calder’s work. The Dadaists’ influence on Calder is clearly visible in the early elements of his artwork, with Cirque Calder being firmly grounded in the tradition of the Dadaist happenings. As mentioned in the film by Levy-Kuentz, the responses of his Cirque’s first visitors were generally marked by the same sort of outrage that was usually associated with Dadaist events, such as the Cabaret Voltaire bohemian escapades that were so well documented by contemporaries, or the equally infamous noir cacadou (Maftei). As it was mentioned in Levy-Kuentz, some of the viewers of Calder’s Cirque may still think that “Calder was wrong to abuse the illustrative style,” as “sculpture is too serious as art for one to indulge in gratuitous games of humor and parody (q.v. in Levy-Kuentz). In this sense, Calder’s experiments with the toy sculpture may still retain a modicum of controversy.
Subsequent performances of Cirque Calder were unashamedly modeled after the Dadaists’ insistence on the need for simpler and self-ironic art, with the number of kinetic artwork engaged in the process of the artistic presentation. For instance, the wired toy sculptures used by Calder in his 1929 show would turn and twist, casting shadows on the wall, which would create further depth in the characters portrayed by them. The wire sculptures used in Cirque Calder possessed a modicum of depth and solidity in them, even though their main construction material was the simple wire, they were able to present lines and shadows to the audience. From the description provided by Levy-Kuentz, it is evident that these works possessed some salient characteristics of the Dada art which would account for the Cirque Calder’singenious art and whimsical performances. Furthermore, many of the ‘plays’ performed by Calder in his Cirque were characterized by the spectacular mixture of “shocking violence with a mocking anarchistic humor” (Sperling 22). This in itself would indicate the significant influence of the Dada art on Calder’s artistic thinking in that period.
On the other hand, the larger kinetic artwork that became the landmark of Calder’s personal style after the mid 1930s was undoubtedly influenced by the Constructivists’ legacy. As it was evident from the significant interplay between the Constructivists’ notions of kinetic rhythm in the artistic framework that purported to combine architectural and sculptural elements, on the one hand, and Calder’s attempts at inserting kinetic features into even the supposedly static art on the other one, there is a significant overlap between the aesthetic thinking of the Russian Constructivists and Calder, especially with respect to the rendition of the movement in non-moving artifacts. At the same time, it is scarcely possible to consider Calder’s oeuvres to be fully ‘Constructivists’ for a variety of reasons.
First, the kinetic / mobile works by Calder, even the ones of clearly monumental nature, lack the emphasis on the abstract that is so typical of the Constructivists’ artworks. For instance, Calder’s Flamingo (1974) is enhanced with the feeling of the organic and the colorful, which stands in contrast with the usually rigid compositions by the orthodox Constructivists that emphasized the abstract translucence and space-time transformations (Marter). Consequently, Calder’s work is less ‘abstract’ in the literal sense of this term, which would situate in more Dadaist / New Realist sector of the avant-garde spectrum.
Second, Calder’s mobiles are more ‘concrete’ in the sense of championing the specific, albeit stylized, movement, as opposed to, e.g., Gabo’s or Moholy Nagy’s insertion of more hidden and abstract kinetic rhythms in fundamentally stationary artworks. In this sense, the fundamental artistic orientation of Calder is distinct and different from that of the Constructivists, emphasizing the specific movements of the mobile artworks, rather than mere reminiscences of the possibility of movement. Hence, Calder’s works cannot be consistently regarded as Constructivists’, even though they share some of the style’s underlying rationales, and it would be prudent to relegate his artistic legacy to the Neo-Dadaist category. At the same time, it is necessary to remember that the classification of the individual artist’s style is always problematic, given the conflation of various styles in different artworks, which is especially evident in Calder’s case.
Chapter 5: Tinguely’s New Realism
Biography and New Realism Manifesto. Jean Tinguely was a notable representative of the 1960s Parisian avant-garde, who was credited with the development of new forms of kinetic art (Rickey) as well as with the influence on the development of Nouveau realisme as an artistic movement. As Tinguely was born and brought up in Switzerland, his information as an artist was undoubtedly influenced by the legacy of Duchamp and the Zurich Dada at large. Residing in Paris, the artist befriended Calder and Duchamp. Tinguely’s works were influced by the style of Dadaism, Constructivism or Deconstructivism. Given his interest in the development of kinetic art, Tinguely became one of the first, and most prominent, signatories of the New Realism Manifesto.
Tinguely was born in 1925 inFribourg, Switzerland, but spent his childhood and adolescence in Basel. As this city was the center of artistic activities, with its Kunstmuseum Basel presenting a manifold perspective on the development of the 20th century fine arts, the artistic development of Tinguely was greatly influenced by local cultural atmosphere. In 1941-1945, Tinguely enrolled in the Basel School of Fine Arts, where he may have been influenced by Dadaists’ and Constructivists’ ideas, in particular, by those of Marcel Duchamp. Thus, the Duchampean notions of mechanical poetry and imagery, together with Constructivists’ emphasis on the combination of the mechanical and subjective, had their impact upon Tinguely’s artistic thinking. According to the artist’s own words, there is “for me the machine is an instrument that allows to be poetic” (qtd. in Cassou et al. 8).
Tinguely’sfirst motion artworkwas presented in Basel at 12. Assembled near a fast running stream, this artwork was assembled from a number of tin cans and other readymades such as water wheels, bottles, camshafts, and rotating wheels. In the early 1950s, Tinguely moved to France to pursue an art career. While living in Paris, he engaged with local avant-garde circles. Spending his spare time scouring the city for materials, Tinguely apparently shocked his neighbors by his paradoxical art. As later presented in the account of this period, “his disarming, zestful art [asserted] qualities of vagabondage and a wild picaresque individualism” (Cassou et al 10).
In general, one may surmise that Tinguely was a fairly conventional Constructivist in the earlier period of his Parisian life. However, Tinguely soon challenged more conventional assumptions of his artistic contemporaries, just as Duchamp before him, by utilizing an ever more increasing assortment of machine rubbish as his major artistic material (8). This change in attitudes may be clearly seen in the stylistic features of his Prayer Wheel (1954), a steel, motorized, 28-inch high sculpture currently placed at the Museum of Fine Arts (Houston). In comparison with his Homage to New York and Affair of the Heart, this sculpture encompasses clear shapes and lines, making it similar to an architectural drawing that would be motorized and presented as a sculpture. The early 1960s works by Tinguely are characterized by much more chaotic structure, reflecting his more thorough engagement with the Duchampean Neo-Dadaism.
Tinguely’s contribution to Neo-Dadaist and Constructivist development of the 1950s to 1960s gained him a place in the Nouveau realisme (‘New Realism’) school, effectively founded by Pierre Restany, an influential critic and theoretician of the post-WW II French pop art (Berghaus 160). Having presented three influential manifestos, with the first one of them titled New Realism Manifesto, the group sought to engage with all those artists who “sought inspiration from “modern nature”” (160), including the realities of media, advertisement and similar forms of modern aesthetics. As Tinguely emphasized movement and dynamism as the key features of his artistic style, these aspects found its expression in the works of the other ‘New Realists’ as well. A number of festivals held in 1961-1963 entrenched the group’s popularity among the French and international public, leading to the rapid development of New Realism as an heir of previous avant-garde formations. Thus, one may claim that Tinguely’s contributions were more widespread than it is usually thought. After his death in 1991, a personal museum was dedicated to Tinguely in Basel, reflecting this artist’s impact upon the development of post-WW II West European art.
Calder’s, Constructivist and Dadaist Motifs in Tinguely’s Works. The influence of Constructivism upon Tinguely is made apparent by his usage of materials, while his indebtedness to the Dadaist legacy is gradually becoming more visible, as the artwork in question progresses. The mechanical rubbish that Tinguely was fond of utilizing in his elaborate Constructivist designs, using basically scavenged scraps, may be taken as representation of the essence of kinetic art, with the Dadaists’ legacy being particularly evident there. In total, this choice of forms would contribute to further development of assemblage art.
Jean Tinguely’s fame basically rests upon his contributions to the development of sculptural machine art (kinetic art) that seems largely to lie in a vein of the late Dada tradition, widely referred to as metamecanique. The metamecanique, as Tinguely’s work is frequently labeled, has the significant degree of historical importance to the development of kinetic art as the avant-garde art form. Tinguely’s role in the development of metamecanique may be compared to that of Calder in the rise of mobile art and that of Duchamp to the Dada movement. The combination of metamecanique with salient elements of Constructivism, as well as with the notions of constructing an artwork from the standardized shapes and assemblages lies in the essence of Tinguely’s artistic legacy.
Tinguely combined his qualities of an artist with those of a showman. As Tinguely presented his works together with Calder and Duchamp, he was as familiar with their art as they would be with his. As observed by Marter, later Tinguely’s mobile constructs produced “of found scrap metal” represent direct reminiscence of Calder’s famous mobiles of the 1920s to 1940s. In Marter’s words, “with the feather of Balouba vert waving wildly,” the audience would be “reminded of Calder’s motorized devices of the 1930s, which included troupes of dancing forms” (Marter).
However, at the same time, Tinguely did more than just appropriate Calder’s sculptural legacy. With his specific emphasis on the alleged ‘faltering’ of the mechanical devices he used, Tinguely in fact perfected Calder’s typical designs (Marter). Thus, his work may be considered as the novel contribution to the established stylistic tradition.
Tinguely’s Major Works and Their Core Features. The works by Jean Tinguely were predominantly mechanical assemblages that offered the viewer access to the artwork’s changes, which was rather uncommon at that time. Cassou et al presented Tinguely’s work as follows: “It tries to meet the spectator on common ground through the use of standardized forms, and familiar industrial surfaces, even at the risk of some loss of personal intensity” (8). As he was a true innovator in the fields of post-WW II kinetic art and constructivism, Tinguely’s credentials as a profoundly brilliant and original artist were certain for all of his contemporaries. In particular, Tinguely’s opinion on the correlation of static and decomposition represent some of the most original ideas in the 20th century art. His artworks are meant to be actively experienced by the audience, to be randomly deconstructed at their awe and astonishment. Their status as the works of art depends on their presentation as a kind of a show characterized by highly intensive movement and change. Tinguely embraces the mutability and uncertainty inherent in his art by offering interplays of static and movement that supposedly combine the traits of Dadaism and Constructivism in an intensive mechanistic happening and action-performance.
Tinguely uses the very term ‘static’ in a peculiarly Dadaist manner. He defines being static as the combination of noise, artificial or natural electrical disturbances, heated opposition or criticism, lack of movement, lack of change, force exertion without motion, or as the state of being in a fixed state. Such concepts of being static would represent an unmistakably Dadaists’ response to the problem of movement. Tinguely’s answers to the challenges of movement are, thus, both absurd and poetic – in a true Dadaist fashion.
Homage to New York (1960) is widely considered to be Tinguely’s greatest piece, representing his vision of the truly American aesthetics. The assemblage presented by Tinguely to his audience received the rather fitting title of Homage to New York, with its only mode of existence consisting in self-destruction “in one act of glorious mechanical freedom” (Tomkins 166). The New York’s Museum of Modern Art (more precisely, its outdoor garden filled with sculptural works) was chosen as the favored location for the execution of this self-destructive happening. Tinguely viewed his vision for Homage to New York to be the embodiment of “simplicity appropriateness, and grandeur” (Tomkins 166), so that he set out for its completion with the great zeal and enthusiasm.
The self-destructive Homage to New York became an event in the history of American artistic criticism. In the words of Tomkins, many visitors judged it to be a “culmination of machinery and shapes that contained a mass not seen in Tinguely’s other works” (Tomkins 166). This manifestation of Tinguely’s propensity for violent movement and action far exceeded his previous aspirations in this regard by its sheer volume and scale. Homage to New York was far more than simply “a massive assemblage of kinetic motion” (Tomkins 166); it proved to be the true event in the history of kinetic art. Together with Tinguely’s metámatic generative sculptures of the 1950s, it might not be received well by the other artists; however, it was definitely taken with the great enthusiasm by the public that was always eager for extravagant and unusual.
In total, Tinguely’s oeuvres are clearly marked by the attempt to overcome the conditional constraints of the kinetic art that was inherited from the likes of Duchamp and Calder; as it was noted by Rickey, the new strands of kinetic art championed by Tinguely were characterized by the creative urge toward the artworks constant transformations – or destruction. Tinguely’s fixation on the problem of how “to dematerialize an object” (Rickey 222) would appear to be consistent with the earlier Dadaists’ tradition of overturning the artistic conventions and emphasizing the finite and transient nature of the objects commonly taken for granted.
The term ‘constructivism’ is widely used since the 1920s and is associated with the continuation of the tradition of geometric abstract art. Constructivism was the most influential movement of modern art to flourish in Russia in the 20th century. It is ‘constructed’ from visual elements which seem to be autonimous such as planes and lines and is characterized by such qualities as impersonality, precision, a clear formal order, economy and simplicity of organization and the contemporary materiause incluidng plastic and metal.
The term evolved when the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917. Constructivism called for a careful analysis of modern materials being a Russian avant-garde invention that found adherents across the continent. The constructivism theory is originated from Russian Suprematism, the German Bauhaus and De Stijl (Dutch Neo Plasticism).
Having considered the artistic evidence presented in the respective chapters, one has to conclude that Dadaism has exerted more substantial impact upon Calder and Tinguely than it is usually admitted, even though important traits of Constructivism may be apparent in their work as well. In particular, works by Alexander Calder may be characterized by the specific mode of almost childlike whimsy that is far different from the more dynamic kinetic sculpture by Tinguely. For instance, Cirque Calder possesses an almost nostalgic quality that draws the visitors’ attention irrespective of their age and social standing. The folk and handicraft elements of Calder’s works engender a quasi-primitivist impression of “innocent pleasure” (Cassou et al), standing in sharp contrast with the rigor of mechanical civilization. In a similar way, Calder’s Hello Girls represents another instance of artistic self-irony, so befitting of a neo-Dadaist; the abstract “girls” dancing between air and water may reflect the artist’s attempt to prank his audience with the presentation that runs counter to their expectations.
Tinguely’s artworks are similarly greatly influenced by Dadaism, with its “manic cacophony of sound and motion” (Cassou et al 10) being a virtual homage his Dadaists’ predecessors. At the same time, though, Tinguely goes far beyond Dadaists’ preoccupation with the whimsical and absurd, focusing instead on the more symbolic and poetical themes that would align his later works more in line with Constructivists’ tradition. Nevertheless, the initial impact of the Dada has never been expunged from Tinguely’s kinetic art, and, thus, he may be considered as an inheritor and expositor of neo-Dadaism with significant Constructivists’ overtones.
Therefore, the conflux of Dadaists’ and Constructivists’ influences on Calder and Tinguely’s work did not lead to the complete aesthetical break with their neo-Dadaist artistic identity. On the contrary, these artists managed to enrich their modes of kinetic sculpture by appropriating Constructivists’ features, yet retaining the remarkably Dadaists’ essence.