DEMO: Gismo


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome at the demonstration of the Gismo. Welcome to the people who are watching via Facebook I will try to speak as loud as possible but it’s very hard to be intelligible in this room Certainly, when the objects behind you move. The Gismo is made by Jean Tinguely in 1960. By the way, I will introduce myself. I’m Esther Meijer and I am restorator. Last year I was hired by Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam to restore 13 works by Tinguely. and to do research in the making But also in the historical research in what the works have been gone through. Because Jean Tinguely’s works move and because of the movement they get damaged Because of the damage parts have to be replaced to get the work moving again. That has been done a lot in the past. Some of the works have been documented, some not and some have been documented before they got here. That’s why we’ve made an overview during a big Tinguely conservation project. We’ve gathered a lot of information about the works . Historical as technical The Gismo is made by Jean Tinguely in 1960. In the same time that he made his selfdestructing machines in New York. There he learned a new technique: electric welding. He took the technique along to Paris. His welding technique is very special. Above all, it does not have to pretty. There have to be lumps. That’s how he welded these works. The Gismo is, besides it a kinetic work, also a music instrument. When I turn it on in a few seconds, you have to listen very carefully how the hammers tap. The problem with this work is, especially, the hammers. They tap on the metal parts and thereby holes arise. And so not only the sound changes but also how are we going to keep the work in the same condition. For restorators it’s a continuing rethorical consideration. What can we replace parts? How can we solve things? This work is part of the parade, as you can see here. He had to bring his works, which where as big as this machine here, to his studio. Where he could sell them. Oh, you can hear a work that is turning on. It squeaks and squawks.. The parade went through the streets of Paris, Montparnasse. He enlisted all his friends. With a fanfare. In a big parade they went through the streets. You can see it here. Well, when that machines stops playing I will turn on the Gismo for you.

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