16 February – 15 May 2011
From February 16 to May 15, 2011, Museum Tinguely will be showing a comprehensive survey of the work of the artist Arman (1928–2005). The exhibition is a cooperative project with Centre Pompidou in Paris, where it was presented last autumn to resounding acclaim, attracting a large number of visitors. With some 80 works contributed by leading museums and private collections, as well as a selection of films in large-scale projection, video recordings and documents, the second installment of the show in Basel features seven thematically arranged galleries providing a unique overview of the artist’s complete oeuvre from the early 1950s to his late work in the 1990s. Museum Tinguely is placing a special focus on Arman’s artistic pursuits in the 1960s and 70s. Five years after the artist’s death, this is the first major retrospective of his work ever to be held at a Swiss museum. Following projects on Yves Klein (1999), Daniel Spoerri (2001) and Niki de Saint Phalle (2003), Museum Tinguely is now proud to present the oeuvre of yet another member of the Nouveaux Réalistes.
In the thematically organized show, important pieces have been selected to represent Arman’s major work groups, beginning with the Cachets and Allures d’Objets, abstract stamp and object prints on paper and canvas from the latter half of the1950s. At the center of the show are Arman’s provocative artistic reactions to the throwaway society, his famous Poubelles and Accumulations, in which he showcases discarded everyday goods and trash in glass and perspex boxes as objets d’art. Also on view are key works from the Coupes and Colères series, as well as from the Combustions and Inclusions, demonstrating the artist’s varied forms of engagement beginning in the 1960s with the theme of destruction, deconstruction and transformation of the accoutrements of our daily lives. Completing the exhibition are a selection of Accumulations Renault, assemblages of factory-new auto parts, some of them monumental, which were commissioned in the late 1960s by Renault, and finally, examples of Arman’s paintings and resin casts using paint tubes, in which he turned his attention from the late 1960s to the end of the 1990s to the medium of abstract painting, or Art Informel.
Today, Arman’s works from the 1960s and 70s seem startlingly topical; in particular his Accumulations, his Colères, involving the destruction of an object, and above all the Poubelles can be read as archaeological traces left behind by consumer society – astonishingly presaging how the throwaway lifestyle and the destruction of the planet would later become the most pressing concerns of our day.
The exhibition has been conceived by the Centre Pompidou, Paris in co-operation with the Tinguely Museum (president of Centre Pompidou: Alain Sebain / Director of MNAM/ CCI: Alfred Pacquement / Curator of exhibition: Jean-Michel Bouhours)