Over the next 3 days my blog will feature 3 places of interest, of places I would not normally visit, were it not to take an interest in the passions of others and hopefully let them see, through my eyes, what some places have to offer if they so wish to take flight. My love for them, hopefully transfers into a love for their interests. This particular blog is in appreciation of A Man About Town, Gordon Hendry and his love of Art.
It was by chance that I came across this fountain when I got the tram from my hotel into the centre of Basel, which in itself, is a very beautiful city. I was interested in doing a bit of shopping and looking out for a toy museum, when I seen a crowd ooing and aaing. Up some steps and there are many water features in the fountain by the artist Jean Tinguely – a creator of kinetic works of art, Jean Tinguely was among the great pioneering artists of the second half of the twentieth century. At the heart of his work was a preoccupation with the machine. What interested him most was how machines work, how they move, the noises they make and their intrinsic poetry.
I’m hooked, a wee look up on the old Google and I find that the Museum is a long tram ride, followed by one stop bus ride over the bridge. I have 2 hours to kill before the footie kicks off, so before you can says Winnie the Pooh, I’m onda tram on my way. To be honest, I do not know what to expect. I have not researched the man, I am only inspired by the fountains, so I do not know what to expect and without a word or a lie, I was blown away.
The Basel card I got from my hotel gets me in for half price, so only €5 baby. The first part takes you through a couple of corridors and tells the story of his childhood in Basel. He was born in Fribourg in 1925 and moved to Basel within the first couple of months of being born. At 19 or so, he attended Basel’s School of Arts and Crafts, where he first began to engage with works of modern art. Taken from the booklet – Kinetic reliefs and sculptures, moving automata, reliefs, and wire sculptures in 1954. Clanking, shuddering, anything but fine-tuned mechanisms, the kinetic works were constantly changing and hence were as much a product of chance as of design.
There is disorder in what this man puts together, but it mesmerizing. There are buttons on the floor that when you step on them, put the art in motion. Enjoy the photo’s and I hope they tell a story of his art. Strange things like power tools with fluffers attached. In the 60’s he turned his attention to Auto-destructive art, taking to the streets of Paris and New York with massive machines or happenings as they called it. In New York he premiered the world’s first auto-destructive work of art in the sculpture garden of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The machine was made of assorted objects that Tinguely had found in the scrapyards and junk shops of New Jersey: motors, a weather balloon, steel tubes, numerous bicycle parts, a piano, a radio, and much more besides. The artist Robert Rauschenberg also took part in the action with a small sculpture of his own. The invited guests looked on as the monumental machine Homage to New York auto-destructed before their very eyes.
I could go on all day, lets just appreciate his work. There is a doozy video where he has taken apart a racing car, added projectors and built a masterpiece. Enjoy Mr Hendry