In his manifesto “For the Static”, the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely explained his program in 1959: “Everything moves, there is no stopping”, thus began the pamphlet which he would have deposited in Düsseldorf as a leaflet to the ‘era. The noises and movements of the machines fascinated him – and that’s why he built sculptures that did just that …

In his manifesto “For the Static”, the Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely explained his program in 1959: “Everything moves, there is no stopping”, thus began the pamphlet which he would have deposited in Düsseldorf as a leaflet to the ‘era. The sounds and movements of machines fascinated him – and that’s why he built sculptures that do just that: move and make noise.

The museum dedicated to Tinguely in Basel, 30 years after the artist’s death on August 30, 1991 and for his own 25th anniversary, has come up with something with a lot of movement and music. And it is about the people in the mind of the master: since Monday, the Tinguely museum has been invited to Gelsenkirchen then to Duisburg, Krefeld, Düsseldorf, Koblenz, Frankfurt am Main and Mannheim, with the freighter converted for the artistic experience MS Evolution.

Tinguely, born in 1925, lived in Basel for a long time, where he immortalized himself with wonderful fountain elements that move and project water from all possible tubes. But he was in the Ruhr a lot, explains the director of the Basel Museum, Roland Wetzel. “The fascination for him was the beauty of everyday industrial life and the way you can treat it.” According to Wetzel, Tinguely was somewhat uncomfortable with abstract art in the mid-1950s and consciously wanted to counter it. He often worked with industrial materials. You can see it on the ship.

On board, among others, models of Tinguely’s kinetic works can be experienced, as the sensual experience of art was important to Tinguely. In kinetic art, mechanical movement is an integral part of the art object. “With the push of a button, the public can tinkle, squeak and shake,” as the museum reports.

A partial replica of the Meta-Matic No. 17, which Tinguely presented in Paris in 1959. It inflates a balloon several times, which then explodes with a loud bang. Visitors can also browse Tinguely’s work with photographs and writings. “We find that it does something to people when they come on a ship: it’s like a vacation,” says Wetzel. The ship once had busy stations in Paris, Antwerp, Maastricht and Amsterdam. “Tinguely’s art is very accessible,” explains Wetzel. “These are objects with which young people are introduced to art. Tinguely’s art is playful, it is joy.”

The stations for the anniversary trip were chosen deliberately: in Gelsenkirchen, for example, Tinguely created kinetic wall objects for the musical theater which opened in 1959. The Lehmbruck museum in Duisburg awarded Switzerland one of the eleven laureates since 1966, the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize for his exceptional contribution to the development of sculpture. Lehmbruck was an important modern German sculptor. The museum hailed Tinguely’s work in 1976 as “as subversive as it is entertaining”. Tinguely paid homage to Haus Lange in Krefeld in 1960 with a personal exhibition. Each stage of the journey where the ship stops for two days is linked to Tinguely’s life.

In addition to the on-board exhibition and the workshops offered there, the museum also offers three performances. One of them comes from the Berlin artist Nevin Aladag. At “Body Instruments” someone wears special musical instruments on their body and head and moves around the city. Musical sounds are created by the movements of the body.dpa