Sunday, December 10, 2006

Museum Tinguely

Pliable’s reference earlier this week to the Ticinese Swiss architect Mario Botta reminded me of the magnificent Museum Tinguely in Basel, Switzerland. Designed by Botta and built shortly after Jean Tinguely’s death in the early 90s, principally to house the artist’s kinetic sculptures. The museum offers a remarkable sensory experience. Tinguely’s clunky iron sculptures are not only tantalisingly tactile but many, like his Méta-Harmonie works - some of which include a variety of percussion and keyboard instruments amid their riotus construction – are also fascinatingly engaging sonic experiences.
With only 115 000 visitors each year Botta’s architectural space presents a wonderful opportunity to experience Tinguely’s multi-disciplinary art in an uncluttered, clarifying acoustic. His sound-producing machines, although of the most basic mechanical construction, seem compellingly engaging and imperfect compared to the blandness of the high-sheen contemporary sound world to which we are becoming increasingly inured. Long before the conception of Botta’s museum the sounds of many of Tanguely's machine-sculptures were recorded and released on vinyl but unfortunately I’m unable to find any currently available on CD. I'd say such a recording project would be a wonderful way of presenting the artist's work within the museum space of Botta's acoustic design - but then again - no one's asking me.
The museum continues to develop its cross-genre programme linking music and the plastic arts with exhibitions such as Edgard Varèse – Composer, Sound Sculptor, Visionary, which took place earlier this year, as well as the periodic Roche n’ Jazz performances, which also encourage an appreciation of interdisciplinary arts within the museum space.


Blogger Guthry Trojan said...

Botta’s claim that architecture is a way of resisting the banal “flattening of culture brought about by the consumerism so typical of modern society” might seem somewhat holier than thou – particularly in light of the numerous commercial projects for which he is responsible but which he trumpets less loudly than his dozen or so churches. But, like the rest of us, he’s compelled to find that delicate balance between ideals and the commercial imperatives of contemporary life. In my view, the Museum Tinguely goes quite some way toward offsetting his culpability in the creation of other “high-tech buildings, the whole glass-architecture, these barbarian constructions which are just to justify tremendous wastes of energy."

Sunday, December 10, 2006 8:17:00 pm  

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