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Movement and the macabre exhibited in Basel

Jean Tinguely used animal skulls to create his "Dance of Death"


Two new exhibitions at the Tinguely Museum in Basel feature the work of Jean Tinguely during the most productive and perhaps the most artistically macabre periods of his creative life.

During the 1960s, the Fribourg-born artist's imagination was in full flight, as the first exhibition - "The 60s Spirit of Tinguely" - shows.

He began the decade by creating a self-destructing machine sculpture in the garden of New York's Museum of Modern Art, and in the years which followed his output included weird and wonderful sculptures made from everyday objects and machinery.

Tinguely would use almost anything which had been discarded or abandoned to create examples of kinetic art depending on movement for effect.

A good example of his sense of the absurd - and his sense of humour - can be seen in "Hannibal II" and other versions of combat tanks he constructed. They demonstrate why the work of Tinguely, who died in 1991, is both respected by the art world, and also has a special appeal for young people.

The second exhibition, "Mengele Dance of Death", consists of 14 sculptures created by Tinguely in 1986, a year after he had undergone major heart surgery. All were made from such materials as incinerated beams, burnt agricultural machinery, household appliances and animal skulls which he retrieved from a farm which was destroyed by fire.

Both exhibitions are at the Tinguely Museum until April 22.

swissinfo with agencies

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