Collection Online of Museum Tinguely

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Jean Tinguely

Le «Rideau» de la Folie

Eloge de la folie

Material / technique: Black felt-tip pen
Size: 28 x 38.5 cm
Inv.Number: 3802
Creditline: Museum Tinguely, Basel

In spring 1966, Roland Petit commissioned Jean Tinguely together with Niki de Saint Phalle and Martial Raysse to create a stage design for a new ballet, “L’Eloge de la folie”, at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. Niki de Saint Phalle and Martial Rasse designed parts of the stage decor while Tinguely invented a flat wheel mechanism that functioned as a curtain. In the style of his early “Reliefs méta-mécaniques” with their fine wire wheels and coloured metal parts that are made to dance through the rotational rhythm of the wheels, large, flat black-painted wheels cut out of wood panels now turn before a white, backlit curtain. A dancer on a bicycle-like stand with pedals sets the whole construction moving and balls rolling via transmission belts. Tinguely took recourse here to old themes and motifs, but found a new form of expression in the ingenious stage presentation. The backlighting evoked the impression of a shadow play and generated a feeling of weightlessness. The artist had evidently already considered the shadow effects produced by his sculptures somewhat earlier, as demonstrated by a letter to Pontus Hulten: «Je vais faire fonctionner les ombres des machines aussi alors avec 3-4 projecteurs de cinema.» ("I will put the shadows of the machines to good effect as well using 3-4 film projectors.") It’s no wonder that Tinguely tried to build on this experience. Today, an electric motor drives the machine and the dancer has been replaced by Tinguely with a human silhouette.

Pictures in our Collection

The following applies for uses of pictures in relation to our collection:
Museum Tinguely does not own any copyright in works by Jean Tinguely or other artists in the collection. The clarification of these rights and payment in respect of them is a matter for the applicant. In Switzerland, the collecting society responsible for this is ProLitteris, Zurich (link website: Museum Tinguely undertakes no liability for third party claims arising from infringement of copyright and personality rights.

Collection of Museum Tinguely

Works and work groups belonging to all phases of Jean Tinguely’s career are to be found in the museum's collection. Along with selected temporary loans, they afford the visitor an extensive view of the artist’s career. Apart from sculptures, the collection furthermore comprises a large number of drawings and letter-drawings, documents, exhibition posters, catalogues and documentation such as photographs. In the measure of the possible all the exhibits are accessible to the public and regularly shown, be it in the permanent collection or as loans to exhibitions worldwide.

The museum’s collections are the result of a generous donation by the artist’s widow, Niki de Saint Phalle, made on the occasion of its foundation, a donation of works from the Roche collection, as well as several other gifts and acquisitions.

>> Biography of Jean Tinguely

>> History of the collection