As you circle the innovative and quirky installations at Museum Tinguely, you may have a few questions. How do they work? What do they mean? And where did the artist find this stuff? Born in Fribourg, 20th-century master Jean Tinguely is best known for his whimsical métamécaniques (mechanical sculptures), which transform machinery, appliances, and items straight from the junk heap into ironic and often macabre statements. For instance, Le Ballet des Pauvres,
from 1961, suspends a hinged leg with a moth-eaten sock, a horse tail and a fox pelt, a cafeteria tray, and a blood-soaked nightgown, all of which dangle and dance on command. The wing of the museum projecting over the Rhine has a splendid river view of Basel. Many of the sculptures are activated at preset times, typically every 5–15 minutes, and it pays to wait and see them in action. Admission to temporary exhibitions is included in the entrance fee. Information sheets are available in English.