Jean Tinguely; Eva Aeppli
Komm mit mir auf die Schaukel Luise
Material / technique: Iron, electric motor, six fabric masks by Eva Aeppli
Size: 190 x 140 x 100 cm
Catalog: Bischofberger 0969
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel, Donation Niki de Saint Phalle
From March to May 1991 an exhibition called Eva Aeppli and Jean Tinguely: Collaboration took place at Galerie Littmann in Basel. The two artists, who had known each other for some 50 years and who around 40 years previously had become the parents of daughter Myriam, married in 1951 and moved to Paris together in 1953. But it was not until this exhibition that Eva and Jean found a way to work together in the artistic field, creating 11 or so moving sculptures for the exhibition at Galerie Littmann, as well as a few “Fasnachtszügs”, as Eva Aeppli called her “Candlesticks”.
In the exhibition catalogue, philosopher Hans Saner wrote:
“When I learnt from Klaus Littmann that Eva Aeppli and Jean Tinguely had decided to do a ‘Collaboration’, my first thought was: ‘Then the two want to accomplish the impossible – or a gallerist has gone a little crazy.’ The project seemed impossible to me because I couldn’t imagine two sets of works that are more diametrically opposed. I had to think of the suffocated screams of Eva Aeppli’s early pictures, those visions of the tormented horror of martyred creatures, the mask-like heads of the soft figures, a cabinet of the departed, gazing with empty and apathetic stares into eternity, and finally of the ‘eternal’ countenances of the planets, the Zodiac and the Erinnyes, whose sewn sensibilities do not tolerate any hint of irony. …
Next to these works, Tinguely’s pieces are like a volcano, anarchic in their variety and abundance, extravagant and boundless in their use of materials, full of Dadaist whimsy and irony, humane even when they are macabre, as if death and the suffering of the world were after all nothing more than absurdities. Movement, noise, light, colour, odour and stench, materiality of every sort and movement again – and behind it all the directorial hand of a sorcerer who takes the rubbish of the planet, the dead, dysfunctional things, and rejuvenates them – no, who for the first time lends them life and a soul, thus creating a universe of paradoxes: a functional realm of the dysfunctional, but nonetheless necessary. – Are these not radically different, indeed irreconcilable artistic worlds? And wouldn’t one have to be a bit insane to try to bring them together in a single project?
Jean Tinguely passed away shortly after the exhibition ended, meaning that his first collaboration with Eva Aeppli would also be his last.