Performance — 8 Aug 2021

On the occasion of the traveling exhibition Et tout ceci est vrai! In Tinguely’s footsteps between Paris, Amsterdam, and Basel by Museum Tinguely, the Stedelijk Museum presents the performance Body Instruments by Nevin Aladağ.

Museum entrance
Teijin Auditorium / Tinguely AHOY! - NDSM Wharf
8 Aug, 3 pm until 3.20 pm
We advise you to be present at least 10 minutes before the starting time of the program. No visitors will be allowed to enter once the performance has started. Visitors are expected to attend the entire performance. 

In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Tinguely Museum in Basel, a barge carrying a number of objects from this Swiss museum will travel from Paris to Amsterdam, and back to Basel. From 17 July to 26 September, the barge will dock at places that have played an important role in the artistic career of Swiss artist Jean Tinguely (1925-1991). Two films about works by Tinguely in the Stedelijk Museum’s collection will be shown in the entrance hall. At the NDSM wharf in Amsterdam, a sculpture by Tinguely and documentation about his practice will be exhibited on the barge. Three contemporary artists developed performances specifically for this project, in which they relate to Tinguely’s influential corpus of works. One of these performances was created by German artist Nevin Aladağ. 

Nevin Aladağ, Body Instruments, drum hat, 2021 © Courtesy the artist and Wentrup, Berlin; Foto: Daniela Kohl
Nevin Aladağ, Body Instruments, drum hat, 2021 © Courtesy the artist and Wentrup, Berlin; Foto: Daniela Kohl


The central focus of Nevin Aladağ’s performance Body Instruments is on the use of sound and movement. A performer wears a number of musical instruments, such as two accordions, bells attached to the ankles, and a head-mounted percussion instrument. The performance generates a piece of experimental music that consists of inevitable sounds such as that of walking on the one hand, and the deliberate handling of the instruments by the artist on the other. The interaction between movement and sound thus assumes a very human character: automatism and freedom alternate in a dynamic symphony. The performances will take place at the Stedelijk Museum and the NDSM Wharf. 

Aladağ’s work is closely related to Jean Tinguely’s practice, as well as to artistic movements such as the modern avant-garde, in which music and performance played an important role. Like Tinguely, Aladağ likes to take art experiences out of the confinement of the museum so that play and experiment can become the focus of attention. In Tinguely’s work, machines produces automatic movements and sounds without having another, concrete function. Aladağ’s performances often revolve around human motion and the ways it can produce sound. 

Body Instruments interprets the classical and folk instruments on the body of the musician in a wilful manner that is perpetually in motion and never quiet.

— Nevin Aladağ


The work of Nevin Aladağ breaks with the boundaries between music, art, and daily life. In addition to performances, Aladağ’s practice also includes installations, dance, still and moving image. Not only the creation of new sound experiences is of importance; so is establishing situations in which everyday gestures and objects can acquire new meanings. Similar to the work of certain Fluxus artists, Aladağ’s work is often playful or naughty, though it also features recurrent themes such as Turkish migration. Her performances often result in tangible objects, such as sculptures formed by the traces of dance movements that leave their imprint on certain materials. Thus she questions the relations between sculpting (with the body) and sculpture (the resulting object). Other movements are captured in still of moving digital materials. Works by Aladağ have been part of exhibitions in the United States and various European and Asian countries. Her work has been shown on occasions including Documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel. 

Nevin Aladağ, Body Instruments, drum hat, 2021 © Courtesy the artist and Wentrup, Berlin; Foto: Daniela Kohl
Nevin Aladağ, Body Instruments, drum hat, 2021 © Courtesy the artist and Wentrup, Berlin; Foto: Daniela Kohl


Commissioned by Museum Tinguely, Basel as part of Museum Tinguely AHOY!
Concept and choreography: Nevin Aladağ
Performers: Przemek Kamiński, Darko Radosavljev
Curator, Museum Tinguely: Dr Sandra Beate Reimann
Production Manager: Attila Gaspar


Jean Tinguely played a crucial role in the development of kinetic art in the 1950s. To Tinguely, his work was an act of resistance against a conventional, static art (world): he wanted to put play and experimentation on center stage. He was not satisfied with the notion of visitors watching static paintings from a distance in a sterile white space. Through his do-it-yourself drawing machines, Tinguely critiqued the role of the artist and the elitist position of the arts in society. He rejected the idea of “the unique hand of the artist” by having visitors assemble works themselves. 

Amsterdam and Tinguely share a dynamic history. The exhibitions Bewogen Beweging (Moving Movement) (1961) and Dylaby (1962) at the Stedelijk Museum, both co-curated by Tinguely, testify to their close contact. He did not only bring his kinetic Méta-machines to the Netherlands, but also his international avant-garde network, leaving a lasting impression with the public, which visited these experimental exhibitions in great numbers. Close ties with Willem Sandberg (then director of the Stedelijk Museum) and curator Ad Petersen led to several acquisitions for the collection, including his famous drawing machine Méta-Matic No. 10 from 1959, Gismo from 1960 and the enormous Méta II from 1971. 

In 2016-2017 the Stedelijk Museum organized an extensive Jean Tinguely retrospective entitled Machine Spectacle. In conjunction with the large Tinguely exhibitions in Düsseldorf and Amsterdam, the thirteen three-dimensional Tinguely works in the Stedelijk Museum’s collection were examined and restored in an extensive interdisciplinary project over the course of 2015 and 2016. The videos that were created in this process will be shown at the Stedelijk Museum, where several works by Tinguely are also on show.