Jean Tinguely, Méta-Harmonie II (Detail), 1979

La roue = c’est tout: New permanent exhibition

Museum Tinguely
from February 8,  2023

According to Tinguely, ‚we live in a wheeled civilisation‘. Even today, our lives are shaped largely by the relationship between man and machine and the resulting dependencies that Tinguely deconstructed with such relish. Now, for the first time since the museum was founded, its enlarged collection of Tinguely’s own works is to return to the great hall. There visitors will be able to discover the intricate and poetic early works, the explosive happenings and collaborations of the 1960s, and the musical, monumental and sombre works of Tinguely’s late period, all presented in an entertaining and eventful tour with many opportunities for hands-on participation.

For the first time since the Museum’s founding in 1996, a new permanent exhibition has been created on the basis of its own ever-growing collection. Supplemented by loans of key works, it offers a comprehensive overview of Tinguely’s oeuvre that takes his claim «La roue = c’est tout» as its leitmotif: as well as being a recurring theme throughout his career, the wheel also stands for his belief that changing times should find expression in art.

In 1952, having trained at the Academy of Applied Arts and worked as a window dresser in Basel, Tinguely moved to Paris, a bold step that would prove decisive for his career, giving access to new sources of inspiration and important contacts in the art world. The first section of the new exhibition highlights Tinguely’s inventiveness and innovativeness, showcasing the wire sculptures and reliefs from the 1950s that established his reputation as a pioneer of kinetic art. His breakthrough came in 1959 with the Méta-Matic drawing machines. By involving the audience, he questioned not only conventional definitions of artwork and artist, but also the structures of the capitalist art market.