Jean Tinguely Rene Progin SCHUNCK Heerlen Atrium

Shuttlecock by Jean Tinguely on view soon at SCHUNCK

Jean Tinguely and Rene Progin, Grand Prix De Gollion, Switzerland 1990

From 7 April, you can see the sculpture 'Shuttlecock' by internationally renowned artist Jean Tinguely in the new exhibition space Atrium. The exhibition is free to enter and can be reached via the Art Depot. 

Jean Tinguely (1925 -1991) was an artist who was active in the countercultural art world of the 1960s. He belonged to the Nouveaux Réalistes group that included the artists Niki de Saint Phalle - whose work was previously exhibited at SCHUNCK - Daniel Spoerri, Arman, Yves Klein and Christo. Their work contained playful humour and a non-conformist anti-art character - elements also present in Tinguely's Shuttlecock. 

Lost and found 

Cynthia Jordens, senior curator at SCHUNCK, says: "Jean Tinguely, and the rest of the group of artists around him, turned against the established art world. For him, art had to be recognisable in the everyday. You can also see this in his works. For instance, he worked with lost and found objects and metal. He was also known for his monumental, kinetic art. He was all about movement. Figuratively, but also literally: he believed the world should be set in motion. His art squeaked and creaked, and made noise." 

Performative art 

With the new Atrium - a high, bright space open to the public free of charge - the perfect location presented itself to show work by Jean Tinguely. And the Heerlen audience seems to be a good fit for Tinguely's work. "The industrial character of his work suits this city. And it is very performative. So is this work: it has a big red button that sets it in motion. That theatricality fits well with Heerlen and its traditions, such as city theatre, Cultura Nova and murals. Now that the Atrium is finished, there seemed no better moment for this presentation than now," says Cynthia. 

Jean Tinguely installatie SCHUNCK Atrium Heerlen museum Limburg

Jean Tinguely and Rene Progin, Shuttlecock

Squeak and creak 

Tinguely believed that art should be accessible to everyone. His art was often shown in public spaces or on the streets, such as the famous Strawinsky fountain in Paris. In the Netherlands, his work cannot currently be seen in public spaces, although there have been previous exhibitions. Cynthia: "In 2007/2008 his work was on show at the Kunsthal in Rotterdam, and in 2016/2017 there was a big solo exhibition at Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam - called 'Machinespektakel'. That was very impressive, that whole squeaking and creaking spectacle. Because yes, moving sculptures are really his thing." 

Shuttlecock is a typical work by the artist, who was fascinated by movement. "He was obsessed with movement and maniacal speed, which made him a fan of car and sidecar racing. This is how he became friends with racing driver René Progin, from Switzerland. For him, from 1988 until his death in 1991, he painted the sidecar, or rather the sleeve around the bike, and racing suits." 

Jean Tinguely installatie SCHUNCK Atrium Heerlen museum Limburg

Jean Tinguely and Rene Progin, Shuttlecock, 1989

Silent explosion 

The exhibition features photos alongside the sculpture: images of the races, suits and cars, as well as the gentlemen at work. "They worked together to convert the sidecar into a sculpture. Because that's what it is: a dismantled sidecar that was actually raced in, put back together as a kind of hushed explosion. A huge rotating sculpture has been made out of it. A typical example of Tinguely as an artist." 

Tinguely's sculpture fits in with the special attention SCHUNCK pays to art-historical icons. There have previously been exhibitions on Niki de Saint Phalle, Basquiat and Keith Haring. Later this year, SCHUNCK is exhibiting work by Andy Warhol. 

The exhibition of Jean Tinguely can be seen in SCHUNCK's Atrium from 7 April free of charge. The festive opening takes place later in the month, on 26 April.