24 April 2007

Bizarre in Basel

Last Friday I took the train to Basel with my friend, Laurie. At the train station we meet up with Un-Swiss Miss. (We were also supposed to meet Jessica, but unfortunately she was not feeling well.)

The purpose of the trip was to go to the Tinguely Museum. So after a walk around the old city and lunch at a former prison, now hotel and restaurant, we headed for the museum.

Jean Tinguely (1925 - 1991) was a Swiss sculptor and painter. He is best known for his strange machines, such as the water fountain that stands in front of the museum. Taking reclaimed items, he turns them into pieces of whimsy.

The interior of the museum invites you to touch, climb and explore the different works. This carrousel horse is part of a much larger sculpture with moving pieces and clanking noises. There are steps to climb up and through it. Tinguely often designed for children and the children that were there responded with shrieks of laughter as they raced up the stairs.

And much of the museum is a space that would delight any child. In many ways his art is like a Dr. Seuss illustration come to life. At times bizarre, but usually fun and carefree.

Although there was an area that I found, well, just plain creepy...

The small museum provided a pleasant afternoon. For me the only disappointment was the building itself. While I can imagine that designing a space that reflects Tinguely's art is a challenge, I thought they could do better than a building oddly reminscient of a mediocre community college from the mid-80's.


Kirk said...

Sounds like you ate at Au Violon...good choice! I'm a bit ashamed to say that despite living there for three years we never made it to the Tinguely Museum. If you like art, I highly recommend a visit to the Beyeler Museum on the outskirts of Basel.

gls said...

I want to go there - it looks like a place I want to see :)

CanadianSwiss said...

That's probably a museum I could take O-X to. As he's from Amsterdam, he's had his share of Museum visits during school time.