Saturday, September 1, 2007

The Monster in the forest.

"A strange apparition awaits the visitor in the midst of this forest oustide Fontainleau: a massive twenty-two-metre high construction by Swiss sculptor Jean Tinguely, made of three hundred tons of metal. It rises like a totem in the form of a huge cyclopean head sparkling with mirrors and traversed with stairways, footbridges and mezzanines that enable the visitor to explore this enchanting world. On the outside, a giant ear, a moving eye inlaid like a diamond in the middle of the forehead, and a fountain gushing out of the mouth and running down the tongue like a waterslide. On the inside, a riveting clutter of riotous machines with gears made from scrap metal spinning, colliding, and clattering.
Le Cyclop is a "museum" of Tinguely's mechanical universe and a monument of contemporary art.

Work on Le Cyclop began in 1969. It took ten years to make the monumental sculpture and ten years to complete the installation. Rising twenty-two meters and weighs around three hundred tons Jean Tinguely invited fifteen artists to join him in the building of this great adventure. Inside the sculpture the visitor will discover works by Niki de Saint Phalle (also Tinguely's wife) who created the Cyclop's face covered it with thousands of fragments of mirrors "which scintillate and reflect the natural movements of the trees, the clouds, of the visitors, the shades and the lights, the dancing water on the language of Cyclop, founding a permanent dialogue between work and surrounding nature". Surrounding the sculpture, four splendid oak trees form an integral part of work.

Artists Daniel Spoerri, Arman, César, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Eva Aeppli Jesus Raphael Soto, Bernhard Luginbühl, Seppi Imhof, Rico Weber, Larry Rivers,
Philippe Bouveret, Pierre Marie Lejeune all contributed to the massive work.

In 1987, Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle gave Le Cyclop to the French government. In 1988, the Ministry of Culture set up an association 'Le Cyclop' to promote and look after the work. The site was officially inaugurated in 1994."

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