Jean Tinguely‘s most renowned art work is Homage To New York, a self-destructing sculpture that in 1960 failed to self-destruct. The Swiss sculptor may have died almost 21 years ago, but his legacy of moving sculptures still lives on. Tinguely’s last major sculpture, Cascade, was the artists second installation in the United States and today resides at the Carillon Building in Charlotte, NC.
In “Remembering Cascade: Tinguely’s Last Sculpture,” Andreas Bechtler, patron of the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, reflects on his relationship with the artist and on the construction of the huge 40-foot sculptural mobile. In the video, Belcher explains that at the time the sculpture was commissioned, Tinguely had suffered several strokes and the artist did not know if he would be able to design and construct the art work.
Bechtler, explains that the artist was a workaholic who always had fresh ideas. Cascade was commissioned in the search for great art to place into the Carillon as Bechtler explains, “We always felt, where workplaces are there should also be art.” For this building, the perfect art consisted of about 18 motors to stabilize the sculpture so that unlike Homage To New York, Cascade would not destroy itself.
The kinetic sculptural machines of Tinguely were abstract and Bechtler explains that no one knew what the sculptures would look like until they were finished. Cascade, includes the hood of a Ferrari, a marble lion head, antlers, a gate, and other objects that drew the viewer to look up, a metaphor for Tinguely himself coming into something new and having a new outlook on life.
In the video, Tinguely is described as an atypical guy, and Cascade is not your typical fountain sculpture with Tinguely making his last work one of his greatest.