Re-Set exhibition at the Museum Tinguely

Re-Set. Assimilations and Updates in Music and Art Since 1900

Exhibition at the Museum Tinguely Basel
28 February – 13 May 2018

On the concerts during the exhibition see below.

The interdisciplinary exhibition in the Museum Tinguely was devoted to the multifaceted subject of creative adaptation in 20th-century music and contemporary art. It presented music manuscripts and art works that adopt, recast, paraphrase or even dismantle existing works in their content, structure or conception.

The musical part of the exhibition displayed music manuscripts, letters, photographs, sound recordings, films and instruments from the roughly 120 collections preserved at the Paul Sacher Foundation. It was divided into four sections: non­authorial arrangements, authorial arrangements, borrowings from folk music and popular adaptations. The variety of items on display and the audio-visual documents available on a tablet conveyed a vivid picture of artistic adaptations in music since 1900.

The productive tension between the authorial and the non­authorial, between the extant work and its creative assimilation, is a source of enduring fascination among artists. They are driven by a range of motives, from the desire to pay hommage to or to deconstruct paradigmatic models, from the ongoing pursuit of the artist's own ideas (e.g. "work in progress") and the quest for inspiration from other genres to cross­media adaptations (e.g. arrangements of concert music for film soundtracks). The documents on display stemmed from such composers as Igor Stravinsky, Anton Webern, Edgard Varèse, Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, György Ligeti, Sofia Gubaidulina, Wolfgang Rihm, Heinz Holliger and Steve Reich.

For centuries music and art history have been, by their very nature, a complex system of quotations and reiterations of extant motifs, together with their creative remodelling and re­staging. As early as 1936 Walter Benjamin prophesied that sophisticated techniques of reproduction, capable of making any work of art readily available and accessible in dozens of copies, would massively alter our modes of sensory perception and thus the concept of art itself. In essence, art has been amenable to copying since time immemorial; but never before has it been so simple to reproduce and rework the incunables of art history, not to mention everyday images and sounds charged with multiple meanings.

The art-historical prologue of the exhibition directed our attention to Marcel Duchamp’s iconic concept of the readymade, an idea that has undergone an unparalleled wave of reception from the 1960s to the present day. It raised the question of how this concept has been absorbed as an artistic strategy and how it serves as a catalyst for new works of art. Alongside works by John Baldessari, Hans Haacke, Sherrie Levine and Jean Tinguely, we showed current positions represented by Saâdane Afif, Pierre Bismuth and Bethan Huws.

©2018 Museum Tinguely, Basel / photo: Daniel Spehr
©2018 Museum Tinguely, Basel / photo: Daniel Spehr
©2018 Museum Tinguely, Basel / photo: Daniel Spehr
©2018 Museum Tinguely, Basel / photo: Daniel Spehr

Concerts during the exhibition at the Museum Tinguely

21 March 2018, 19:00: Uri Caine - Solo Piano
Program here

18 April 2018, 19:00: XASAX Saxophone Quartet - Original & Re-Set
Program here

29 April 2018, 16:30: Moritz Eggert - Hämmerklavier et al
Program here

Cost: Museum admission / No prior booking


Re-Set. Rückgriffe und Fortschreibungen in der Musik seit 1900
Ed. by Simon Obert and Heidy Zimmermann (German only)

Information flyer on the exhibition here

Website Museum Tinguely here