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HOMMAGE À JT is conceived in 2016 in collaboration with Klaus Hersche and the Compagnie Pyr'Ozié on the occasion of the celebrations that the city of Fribourg is dedicating to Jean Tinguely, its great artist who died twenty-five years earlier. The happening, which includes contributions from various artists - Massimo Furlan, François Gendre, Sophie Marilley, Ursula Palla, Denis Savary - takes place on Swiss National Day. The title refers to Hommage à New York, the first self-destructive work in the history of art, which Tinguely presented in the gardens of the MoMA in New York in 1960 and which he was happy to cite as one of his best achievements.

In Fribourg, on August 1, 2016, the public will discover on the Grandes Rames a construction more than ten meters high deployed on four levels. The ensemble is presented as an altarpiece, a religious object that Tinguely revisited on numerous occasions in the last years of his career. The altarpiece is guarded by Massimo Furlan's Superman, who are like the saints of our time: initially closed, it gradually opens up like a monumental Advent calendar - side shutters, doors, windows - to reveal twenty-five playlets in turn, each of which is conceived as a nod to the work of the brilliant creator or to the national holiday that is celebrated on that day.

At dusk, near the altarpiece, the first blasts resound, disturbing, while in the trees, Denis Savary's Étourneaux whistle the Ursonate by Kurt Schwitters, an artist whom Tinguely adored. At nightfall, a brass band roars through the crowd with music as dark as that which marked the artist's funeral in 1991. The musicians prowl around the altarpiece and bring the audience to its feet. A curtain rises. François Gendre's Tambour strikes all three strokes. Then a door slams: the official tribune, decorated with the national flag, steps forward. Another door slams: in overalls, a Jean Tinguely from the theater and several politicians from Fribourg and Basel - the other city dear to the artist's heart - appear. They take up a speech that the artist had made almost thirty years earlier, also on 1 August. The text, which speaks of refugees, the concreting of the territory or women's rights, has not aged a day. Perched above the speakers in an alcove, a secretary with endless legs, similar to the one Tinguely wanted to engage in his anti-museum, the Torpedo Institut, spends her time painting her nails and making phone calls. Downstairs, on the ground floor, a child pastry chef decorates a birthday cake. On the left, the Meta Maleschwyz, a hybrid between the Swiss national symbol and the works of Malevitch - another artist whom Tinguely venerated - slowly rotates on its axis. On the right, Flowers, a still life by Ursula Palla, disintegrates on a screen. The Waggis, a character from the Basel carnival, circulates through the floors, stirring up trouble and inciting the Superman to set fire to the altarpiece with dynamite. Multicolored balls are ejected from the construction. The geranium pots decorating its façade fall and smash to the ground. Balloons filled with hydrogen explode. A fridge filled with feathers explodes. A flame-thrower tears the night away. Fireworks tear the night apart. A guillotine falls down, chopping up sausages. A cupboard full of plates tips over: the dishes, thrown into the void, fail to knock out a Superman. The Fountain of Duchamp, a urinal connected to the firemen's lance, generously waters the crowd that Saint Nicholas blesses in passing. In a brief moment of respite, Helvétia - Sophie Marilley - appears at the top of the altarpiece: draped in a long dress, her head girded with laurels, holding a spear in her hand, she sings the national anthem, which the audience takes up in chorus. As soon as the singing is over, a giant sex figure reminiscent of Tinguely's Vittoria rises to the sky and ejaculates fireworks. Three floors below, the pastry chef lights the candles on the birthday cake. Clumsy? Deliberate act? The candles set the altarpiece ablaze, which turns into a gigantic August 1st fire and burns until dawn.

In the morning, as in New York in 1960, all that remains at the party site is a bit of twisted scrap metal and a pile of ashes.




HOMMAGE À JT was created in collaboration with Klaus Hersche and the Compagnie Pyr'Ozié.


With artistic contributions from : Massimo Furlan  Supermen ; François Gendre Tambour ; Sophie Marilley  Helvétia ; Ursula Palla  Flowers ; Denis Savary Étourneaux.

With the participation, for the speech, of : Marc Fahrni, Syndic of La Verrerie, Marie Garnier, President of the State Council of the Canton of Fribourg, Thierry Steiert, Syndic of Fribourg, Hans-Peter Wessels, State Councillor of the Canton of Basel City, Martial Wicht, Syndic  of Neyruz, Jean Winiger, actor.

With, in the figurative roles: Nicolas Anderfuhren, the brass band of Norbert Clément & Geneviève Marilley, Adrien Laubscher, Pascal Macheret, Claudio di Martino, Martin Rebetez, Joséphine de Weck, Vincent Yerly.

With the support of : City of Fribourg, Tinguely 2016, Mivelaz Techniques Bois SA, ECAB Établissement cantonal d'assurance des bâtiments, Fondation Saint Louis.


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