Et tout ceci
est vrai!

Et tout ceci est vrai, photocollage by Jean Tinguely, postcard 1956 Reprografie: Hans Hammarskiöld

In Tinguely’s footsteps between Paris, Amsterdam, and Basel

Exhibition on board the MS Evolutie, 17 July to 26 September 2021

An avid creator of kinetic sculptures, Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925–1991) made movement the centerpiece of his oeuvre, indeed of his whole life. Hence the opening of his Für Statik manifesto, which according to a legend he printed as a flyer and scattered from a plane over Düsseldorf in 1959: ‘Everything moves! Rest does not exist’. True to this motto, Museum Tinguely’s festivities to mark 25 Years of Moving Art are to include the exhibition Et tout ceci est vrai! on board the converted barge MS Evolutie. The exhibition will reference the various stops on the Museum Tinguely AHOY! jubilee voyage, and with photographs, writings, audio stations, films and models installed in the ca. 100 square-meter hull of the vessel will showcase Jean Tinguely the artist and his art. On this journey back in time visitors will be able to follow Tinguely’s trajectory from his first exhibitions in galleries in Paris in the late 1950s and his first solo show at the Haus Lange Museum in Krefeld in 1960 to the great retrospectives of later years, including that at the Lehmbruck Museum in Duisburg in 1978. To convey the works’ immediacy and the sensory pleasure of experiencing them live – even ‘on the road’ – the museum has built models inspired by Tinguely’s kinetic originals. On pressing a button, therefore, visitors will be able to enjoy the jangling, squeaking and clanking of his machines and to sway to the videos, audios and projections of his works.

An interactive experience

Among the works that visitors will be able to experience on board the MS Evolutie is a model of part of the over life-size drawing machine Méta-Matic No. 17, which Tinguely presented at the first Biennale de Paris in 1959. It was with this machine, driven by a petrol engine, that Tinguely stood the traditional relationship between author, work and recipient on its head – and that in front of a large audience, too. Like the original that it is based on, the model on show in the exhibition blows air unceasingly into a balloon, which eventually bursts with a loud bang.

The sound sculpture Mes étoiles – Concert pour sept peintures (1957–59) consists of seven reliefs with assorted found objects made of glass, sheet metal and aluminium. Et tout ceci est vrai! will feature a console resting on the same concept that invites visitors to elicit sounds from similar ensembles and hence to try their hand as composers of their own cacophonous melodies.

Tinguely’s success as an artist manifested itself in 1960 when in his first solo show in a museum at Haus Lange in Krefeld he explored the question of whether art can be serially produced. In the catalogue he even addressed his audience directly by calling on them to build a Tinguely work of their own and even supplying instructions for the Maschinenbild Haus Lange relief. A relief belonging to that DIY edition of the Maschinenbild Haus Lange made according to Tinguely’s own instructions will also be on show in the hull of the MS Evolutie. This work – like the other two interactive stations about Tinguely’s art – was made by Museum Tinguely’s own conservator, Jean-Marc Gaillard, who was one of Tinguely’s last assistants to work with him personally.

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view in the exhibition « Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Installation view of the exhibition «Et tout ceci est vrai!» © 2021 Museum Tinguely, Basel; photo: Matthias Willi

Exhibition curator: Giorgio Bloch

The exhibition will be open to visitors at travel stop from 10 am to 8 pm. Admission is free of charge. Online tickets can be booked two weeks in advance of the intended visit at the website www.mtahoy.com.

On returning to Basel, the exhibition will be transferred to Museum Tinguely and an enlarged version of the same shown there from 20 October 2021 to 23 January 2022.