Three persons sitting in front of the sculpture group The Paradise. The three persons all work with the restauration of the artwork.

Mats Holmqvist, technician, Michaela Florescu and Marie Grima, conservators Photo: Tobias Fischer/Moderna Museet

15.5 2023

The restoration of Paradise is about to start!

During the summer of 2023, you will notice that something is going on by the sculpture group “Paradise” outside the museum’s main entrance. A long-awaited conservation of the artist Jean Tinguely’s sculptures is now starting.

The sculpture group “Paradise” is both a landmark and a beloved artwork on Skeppsholmen. Here Jean Tinguely’s black, angular and creaky machines meet Niki de Saint Phalle’s colourful, life-affirming figures.

However, Tinguely’s seven iron kinetic sculptures are in great need of conservation, therefore extensive work will begin on this part of the sculpture group in the summer of 2023. Piece by piece, the work will be taken care of in the conservators’ studios at the museum, and the work is expected to go on for two years.

– The goal is to stay as close to the artist’s original idea as possible so that the work isn’t changed or affected due to the restoration, says Michaela Floerscu, conservator with a focus on metal, sculpture and installation art and project manager for the project.

Sustainable conservation for the future

Many of the challenges which apply to the moving parts of “Paradise”, also apply to all kinds of kinetic sculptures which are powered by mechanics and machines. That is why an update of Moderna Museet’s guidelines for the conservation of kinetic sculptures, in general, is happening simultaneously.

– The movement and the material are elements that are of equal importance to the artwork, but the movement itself creates ware and damage. The task is to find a balance between necessary changes of damaged parts while still conserving as much of the original material as possible, says Michaela Florescu:

– The question is therefore also how we can both run the machines and ensure their long-term conservation in the most sustainable way possible.

An international conservation project

The conservation work is financed by “Bank of America Art Conservation Project”, which has chosen “Paradise” as one of its prioritized international conservation projects.

Colorful sculptures on lawn and lush trees.
Niki de Saint Phalle, Jean Tinguely, The Paradise | Le Paradis fantastique, 1966. Photo: Åsa Lundén / Moderna Museet © Niki de Saint Phalle and Jean Tinguely / Bildupphovsrätt 2019
Pontus Hultén and Jean Tinguely, 1970 Photo: Erik Cornelius

Published 15 May 2023 · Updated 23 November 2023