Let’s keep Jean Tinguely’s dream alive!
"Born in 1969 in Milly-La-Forêt, I am the dream-come-true of Jean Tinguely. I was given the name Le Cyclop. I was designed as a museum and built with the support of many artists: César, Eva Aeppli and Jesús Rafael Soto, among others. More than 20,000 people visit me each year. To begin with, children thought my tongue was a slide. One day Niki de Saint Phalle decided to cover my face with thousands of glittering pieces of mirror. I shimmered with light and the woods were reflected on my face. Today water streams down my tongue and spills into a pool. However, with age and bad weather, the mirrors have deteriorated and today I have lost my sparkle".
Now we would like you to become a part of this dream: help Le Cyclop by contributing to the restoration of the Face aux miroirs envisioned by Niki de Saint Phalle!
LE CYCLOP NEEDS TO BE RESTORED
Le Cyclop’s location in the heart of a wood subjects Jean Tinguely’s monumental work to extreme conditions, such as high humidity levels and large variations in temperature, which mean the sculpture requires constant observation. For several years Le Cyclop’s face remained a surface of sprayed concrete until Niki de Saint Phalle decided to cover it with pieces of mirror, a material she was very fond of for its sparkling and reflective finish.The work started in 1987 and was completed in 1991. Many assistants, friends and artists lent a hand to assist the dedicated team. The techniques used were perfected as the work progressed, each person bringing a personal touch to the treatment of the monster’s face.
But, a few years later, the mirrors began to lose their powers of adherence and to suffer from the adverse weather conditions. With the deterioration increasing, it became necessary to place a net over Le Cyclop’s face in 2012. Studies carried out with the Historic Monuments’ research laboratory confirmed that the materials that had been used were not the most suitable and that the technique used to cut the pieces of mirror had weakened their silvering, leading in turn to a progressive degradation of their reflective capacity.
The decision to replace the mirrors on La Face aux miroirs was carefully weighed and the outcome of discussions between the Cnap, the rights-holder for Niki de Saint Phalle, restorers, engineers who specialise in metal, concrete and glass, and the association that manages Le Cyclop for the Cnap.
Examinations were carried out in an ageing chamber on different materials (mirrors and glue/grout) to identify those that were best adapted to the conditions the monument is exposed to. Tests for the cutting and application of the mirror pieces were also made. The original pieces were photographed so as to replicate the original shapes and layout.
After years of studies and debate, the work of restoration is now able to commence in order to recreate the work’s harmonious relationship with its setting, and also to meet Niki de Saint Phalle’s wish that Le Cyclop’s mirrors would always sparkle – like the artist’s works in the Tarot Garden in Garavicchio de Pescia Fiorentina (Italy).
The Cnap is launching an appeal to raise 15,000 euros to restore Le Cyclop’s tongue. Each donation is tax-deductible and can benefit from compensation measures.
AN EXCEPTIONAL DESTINY
Le Cyclop looks like a bodiless head, with a single eye that gazes out at its surroundings. For 25 years, from 1969 to 1994, Jean Tinguely built this unconventional sculpture. Made for the most part from recycled materials, it stands 22 metres tall and weighs about 300 tonnes.
Its face is covered with 400 m² of mirrors.
Some of the greatest artists of the art movements of the 20th century, such as Dada, Nouveau Réalisme, Kinetic Art and Art brut, were involved in its creation: Eva Aeppli, Arman, Philippe Bouveret, César, Seppi Imhof, Pierre Marie Lejeune, Bernhard Luginbühl,
Giovanni Podestà, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Larry Rivers, Jesús Rafael Soto, Daniel Spoerri and Rico Weber.
Visitors are invited to enter Le Cyclop and operate different machines, to activate sounds, to watch a play and more. In 1987 Jean Tinguely decided to donate Le Cyclop to the French State to ensure its protection. It is also registered with the Centre national des arts plastiques which has responsibility for its upkeep and restoration. The Association Le Cyclop looks after the sculpture, welcomes the public organises an accompanying cultural and artistic programme.
In order for Le Cyclop to sparkle once more, please contribute to the restoration of its tongue and help keep Jean Tinguely’s dream alive!