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Restoration of the Cyclop by Jean Tinguely, Milly-la-Forêt


Deep in the forest of Milly, near Fontainebleau, is hidden a work of multiple facets: The Cyclop by Jean Tinguely.

Now it needs restoring.

Over 25 years from 1969 to 1994 Jean Tinguely and his wife, Niki de Saint Phalle, created an exceptional sculpture which they named The Cyclop. This monumental work, constructed essentially from recycled material (metal, wood, shards of mirror and ceramic) measures twenty-two meters and weighs almost three hundred tonnes.

Covered in thousands of mirror fragments which twinkle and reflect the natural movements of the trees and the clouds, The Cyclop is engaged in a permanent dialogue with the surrounding natural world.

Jean Tinguely and Niki de Saint Phalle invited their artist friends to work on this project: César, Arman, Eva Aeppli, Philippe Bouveret, Bernhard Luginbühl, Seppi Imhof, Pierre Marie Lejeune, Giovanni Podestà, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, Larry Rivers, Jesus Rafael Soto, Daniel Spoerri, and Rico Weber. At the same time they paid homage to Marcel Duchamp, Yves Klein, Louise Nevelson and Kurt Schwitters.

Jean Tinguely decided in 1987 to give the Cyclop to the State which then undertook to ensure it was protected and conserved. The work was then included in the inventories of the Cnap which undertook the conservation and restoration of this sculpture from then on. The Le Cyclop association oversaw the maintenance of the work and visits to it, and offered a cultural and artistic programme at the site.

Despite all the care taken in the conservation of the Cyclop, The Face of Mirrors dreamed up by Niki de Saint Phalle now requires significant restoration.

In fact, over time the weather has caused the 400m² of mirrors it is made of to deteriorate. The mirrors are now coming off and the work is covered by a net to stop them falling, for the safety of visitors.

Specific and complex engineering studies have therefore been undertaken by the Cnap in collaboration with the Research Laboratory for Historic Monuments (LRMH).

The 400m² of mirrors need to be removed and replaced by more robust mirrors. Studies must also be done on the aging and resistance of glues and silicons used to apply the new mirrors.

To avoid, as much as possible, damp infiltrating between the structure and the mirrors, the restoration must be done very quickly. 

Each mirror must be cut off and replaced manually by a large team of retorers and mosaic specialists. The Cnap therefore needs once again to bring together many talents and skills for the restoration of the Cyclop.


Patron of the restoration:
3do reallity capture

For more information about the project, or if you wish to make a donation towards the restoration, contact:

Aurélie Lesous, Head of Partnerships, Patronage and mediation
Centre national des arts plastiques
Telephone: +33(0)1 70 15 13 92

Dernière mise à jour le 02 Sep 2016