Nadine Cueni, des hirondelles, 2019

19’54 min., FHD-Video, 16:9, colored with sound, French with German subtitels

2019 Museum Tinguely, Basel; © Nadine Cueni

April to Septmeber 2019
Nadine Cueni

des hirondelles, 2019, Video installation, French with German subtitles, 19’54 min.

des hirondelles (‘Of the Swallows’, 2019) is a film about the search for a place that no longer exists. A film about memories and narratives, a poetic approach to a tragic event, to people and their stories.

On 23 August 1986, lightning struck the farm of the Dafflon family in Neyruz, shortly after the summer hay harvest. In a total, devastating fire, the farmstead was destroyed and burned to the ground. One bull and seven calves died in the flames, the agricultural machinery and equipment were deformed and destroyed in the ‘hellfire’. The tragic event changed the life of the family forever and inspired Jean Tinguely, whose house and studio were located in the immediate vicinity and who was recovering from a severe heart operation, to create his late key work Mengele-Dance of Death (1986).

The artist Nadine Cueni (b. 1976, lives in Riehen) was invited by Museum Tinguely to collect stories and impressions at the site of the events. These recall the biography of the destroyed farm as an ‘oral history’, but also relate something specific about the place in the images of today, something which has changed its rhythm of life only slightly over the last thirty years.

The film around Tinguely's Mengele-Dance of Death was shown in the context of the exhibition «Lois Weinberger – Debris Field» (17 April - 1 September 2019), for which the artist went in search of traces and debris in his parental farmhouse.

Script: Nadine Cueni
Film/Editing: Marina Fehr, Nadine Cueni
Audio: Robin Michel, Nadine Cueni