Anniversary Weekend

25 Years of Moving Art

25–26 September 2021

Saturday, 11:30 am-9 pm
evening programme from 9:30 pm
Sunday, 11:30 am-5 pm

The weekend of 25–26 September 2021 marked the culmination of our silver jubilee activities. The Solitude Park, the museum itself and the exhibition barge which retured from its great voyage and dropped anchor right next to our institution, formed the unique backdrop to our celebration. Numerous hands-on activities, workshops, shows and varied culinary offering were embedded in a dynamic labyrinth that everyone was invited to explore. Saturday evening was devoted to several concerts and DJ sets. The programme has been conceived as a kind of ‹Best of› the museum’s many different activities of the past twenty-five years.


Museum Tinguely has stood for the interactive experience of art for a quarter of a century

It is a museum that is open to all, whose promise of the chance to experience art in an unmistakable and spacious setting makes it a magnet for both families with children and art experts all year round. The museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Jean Tinguely, who after 1950 was one of the most influential and progressive artists worldwide. Since it was first opened in 1996 Museum Tinguely has drawn on Tinguely’s conceptual world as well as its own unique location on the banks of the Rhine and the scope for artistic experimentation afforded by its architecture to build a programme that is down to earth, inclusive and open-ended, that promotes dialogue with other art forms, artists and visitors, that is moving both literally and metaphorically, and that offers an interactive, multi-sensory museum experience. In addition to its exhibitions and education and outreach programme, it has a team of conservators, who with their new Schauatelier, an extensive archive, and still more kinetic art conservation services together form a competence centre that is open to researchers, scholars, institutions, and also to the general public.

Museum Tinguely was gifted by Roche in 1996 to mark the corporation’s centennial and has remained the Basel-based healthcare group’s largest cultural commitment to this day. Just three years elapsed between the first concrete idea of a museum in this location and the opening of the new Museum Tinguely – an astonishingly short time for such a project. The building erected to house the new museum in the Solitude Park adjoining the Roche premises was designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta and opened in October 1996.

The over fifty machine sculptures, countless drawings and other items from the artist’s estate donated by his widow, Niki de Saint Phalle, were entrusted to a special jubilee foundation, set up specifically for this purpose. Roche, for its part, took care of the building of the museum, contributed works of its own, and has financed the running of the museum ever since. Museum Tinguely has so far hosted 113 exhibitions inspired by Tinguely’s ideas and based on a wide range of artists and subjects. These have included the artists who influenced Tinguely, such as Marcel Duchamp and Kurt Schwitters, as well as contemporaries of his such as Arman, Niki de Saint Phalle and Yves Klein, as well as more recent developments. In addition to staging temporary exhibitions, Museum Tinguely also presents an overview of more than four decades of work by Jean Tinguely as one of the greatest and most innovative Swiss artists of the twentieth century.

Jean Tinguely (1925–1991), who grew up in Basel and who in the 1950s and 1960s was a key figure in the Paris avant-garde, created kinetic works of art that animated and revolutionized a hitherto «static» art world. The museum’s permanent exhibition comprises a regularly changing selection of Tinguely’s mechanical sculptures, reliefs and drawings from all periods of his career, while at the same time shedding light on his creative output by viewing it from ever new angles and in different contemporary contexts. One big crowd-puller alongside the early filigree reliefs is the 17-metre-long, 8-metre-high Utopia, Tinguely’s largest machine sculpture and the only one that visitors can walk into. Its colourful and seemingly chaotic array of wheels and objects form a through-composed whole, making for the kind of multi-sensory visitor experience that has become Museum Tinguely’s signature offering. Tinguely built his Utopia to be a fantastical world that would delight everyone, children especially. Giving its visitors moments of joy and discovery has always been central to Museum Tinguely’s mission and remains so to this day.