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Mark Allen Svede

(b Liepāja, April 14, 1939; d West Berlin, Feb 14, 1984).

Latvian performance artist. He arrived in Germany at the age of five as a refugee and later triumphed over geopolitical circumstances to help revitalize artistic culture in his occupied homeland. While pursuing architectural studies at the Technische Hochschule in Aachen (1961–71), he grew interested in the interplay of progressive politics and innovative art forms, which prompted early collaborations with Wolf Vostell and Joseph Beuys, such as their performance 20 July ’64. In 1966 Āboliņš and Gerd Vorhoff founded the Neue Galerie in Aachen, where they organized happenings and performances by Beuys, Jörg Immendorff, Nam June Paik, Tomas Schmit and other key members of Fluxus, the movement instigated by another exiled Balt, the composer George Maciunas (1931–78). At the same time, inspired by the New Left, Āboliņš combated artistic provincialism within the conservative Latvian émigré community by proposing a cultural rapprochement with Soviet Latvia. Advocating an international—rather than a narrowly nationalist—Latvian identity, Āboliņš helped to organize in ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Born 1937, in Nice.

Painter.

Groupe 70, Fluxus.

He lives and works in Nice. After a literary education, he joined the Fluxus movement in the 1960s. In addition to his work as a visual artist, he has published poems, essays and numerous articles. From ...

Article

(b Geneva, June 24, 1948).

Swiss draughtsman, performance artist, painter, and sculptor. He studied at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, Geneva (1966–7) and at the Glamorgan Summer School, Britain (1969). Armleder is known primarily for his involvement with Fluxus during the 1960s and 1970s, which included performances, installations, and collective activities. He was a member of the Groupe Luc Bois, based in Geneva in 1963. In 1969, with Patrick Lucchini and Claude Rychner, he was a founder-member of the Groupe Ecart, Geneva, from which stemmed the Galerie Ecart (1973) and its associated performance group (1974) and publications. Armleder’s first exhibition was at the Galerie Ecart in 1973, followed in the same year by one at the Palais de l’Athénée, Geneva. The anti-establishment and anti-formalist philosophy of the Fluxus groups continued in Armleder’s mixed-media works of later years, which include the Furniture Sculpture of the 1980s. In works that couple objects (second-hand or new) with abstract paintings executed by Armleder himself, and which often refer ironically to earlier modernist abstract examples, he questioned the context in which art is placed and the notion of authenticity in art. Such concerns continued to appear in his work. Armleder’s ...

Article

[It.: ‘impoverished art’]

Term coined by the Genoese critic Germano Celant in 1967 for a group of Italian artists who, from the late 1960s, attempted to break down the ‘dichotomy between art and life’ (Celant: Flash Art, 1967), mainly through the creation of happenings and sculptures made from everyday materials. Such an attitude was opposed to the conventional role of art merely to reflect reality. The first Arte Povera exhibition was held at the Galleria La Bertesca, Genoa, in 1967. Subsequent shows included those at the Galleria De’Foscherari in Bologna and the Arsenale in Amalfi (both 1968), the latter containing examples of performance art by such figures as Michelangelo Pistoletto. In general the work is characterized by startling juxtapositions of apparently unconnected objects: for example, in Venus of the Rags (1967; Naples, Di Bennardo col., see 1989 exh. cat., p. 365), Pistoletto created a vivid contrast between the cast of an antique sculpture (used as if it were a ready-made) and a brightly coloured pile of rags. Such combination of Classical and contemporary imagery had been characteristic of Giorgio de Chirico’s work from ...

Article

Swiss, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1946, in Geneva.

Mixed media, musician.

Fluxus.

Michel Asso, best known for his work as a musician, took part in an exhibition by the Fluxus group in 1966 at the Galerie Jacqueline Ranson in Paris.

Donguy, Jacques: ‘Les 40 ans de Fluxus 1962-2002’ in ...

Article

Ben  

Swiss, 20th century, male.

Active from 1949 active in France.

Born 18 July 1935, in Naples, to an Irish mother and a Swiss-French father.

Painter (mixed media), installation artist.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art.

Ben spent periods in Turkey, Egypt and Greece before settling in Nice in 1949. At the age of 16 he broke off his studies, working in a bookshop and then becoming a second-hand goods dealer. However, Ben never ceased to contemplate the legacy created by Marcel Duchamp and the consequences of the ...

Article

Ben  

Vanina Costa

[Vautier, Benjamin]

(b Naples, Italy, July 18, 1935).

French painter and performance artist. In 1949 he settled in Nice, where in 1958 he bought a record shop, which he used to stage exhibitions. In this gallery, which he initially called Laboratoire 32, and later Galerie Ben Doute de Tout, he held his first one-man show in 1960. Self-taught, he was by this time producing paintings of large handwritten words on a plain background, often coloured black and white, as in Je suis un menteur (1959; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 24). In an equally subversive spirit he created the Vomit Pictures (1958; see 1987 exh. cat., p. 14), which consisted of black canvases on to which he vomited. In the early 1960s he became associated with Fluxus, inscribing a ping-pong ball ‘Dieu’ for his Fluxbox Containing God (1961; see 1987 exh. cat., pp. 54–5) and in 1962 taking part in the Festival of Misfits at Gallery One in London. His Fluxus editioned works were often containers filled with everyday objects or materials, such as ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 1921, in Krefeld; died 23 January 1986, in Düsseldorf.

Performance artist, installation artist, assemblage artist, engraver.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art.

Joseph Beuys spent his youth in Cleves. Relatively little is known about his early years, but he is thought to have begun studying natural sciences when he was mobilised in 1941 as a bomber pilot in the Luftwaffe. In winter 1943, his plane was shot down over the Russian steppes near Sevastopol. According to Beuys, some Tatars found him buried in the cabin wreckage and just managed to save his life by smearing the wounds of his half-frozen body with animal fat and wrapping him in felt. There is some doubt as to the truth of parts of this story, but certainly the metaphorical power of the fat and felt became a recurring theme throughout the rest of his career....

Article

Heiner Stachelhaus

revised by Ina Blom

(b Krefeld, May 12, 1921; d Düsseldorf, Jan 23, 1986).

German sculptor, performance artist, printmaker teacher, and political activist. He opposed a concept of art based on such autonomous genres as panel painting and sculpture. Instead he pursued in his performance art (‘Aktionen’) and sculpture an ‘expanded concept of art’, aimed at a total permeation of life by creative acts. By his provocative and often misunderstood statement that ‘each person is an artist’, he did not mean that everyone is a painter or a sculptor. Rather, he wanted to express the idea that any person could become creatively active. This concept culminated logically in his idea of ‘social sculpture’, an art designed to activate the creative power possessed by every individual to form his or her own life situation.

As a schoolboy Beuys was strongly interested in natural science, which remained significant for his later work. After taking his Abitur in 1940 in Kleve on the Lower Rhine, where he grew up, he first wanted to become a paediatrician. However, in ...

Article

German, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1950.

Painter, lithographer, performance artist, photographer. Artists' books.

Fluxus.

Wolf Adam Bottinelli trained at the art academy in Kassel. He appears to have a very free idea of the act of creation, which has brought him close to the ...

Article

Austrian, 20th century, male.

Born 1938, in Ardring.

Action artist, happenings artist, performance artist, draughtsman.

Fluxus, Body Art.

Aktionismus group.

Günter Brus studied from 1953 in Graz and Vienna and went on in the 1960s to become one of the principal figures in the Viennese Aktionismus (Actionist) School which proclaimed the concept of artistic freedom and mourned its incompatibility with the sclerotic bourgeois society of the post-Nazi years. He took part in various 'happenings' in ...

Article

Swedish, 20th century, male.

Active since 1960 active in France.

Born 1937, in Jönköping; died 28 June 2002.

Painter, sculptor, draughtsman.

Fluxus (related to).

Nouveaux Réalistes group (related to).

After studying at the fine arts academy in Malmö, Erik Dietman went to Paris in 1959...

Article

Erró  

Ađalsteinn Ingólfsson

[GuÐmundsson, GuÐmundur]

(b Ólafsvík, July 19, 1932).

Icelandic painter. He studied at the Myndlista-og handíÐaskóli Íslands (Icelandic School of Arts and Crafts, Reykjavík, 1949–51) and the Kunstakademi, Oslo (1952–4), where he specialized in fresco painting and printmaking. He undertook further studies in painting and mosaic at the Accademie in Florence and Ravenna (1954–7). He settled in Paris in 1958, later dividing his time between Paris, Bangkok, the Mediterranean island of Formentera and Reykjavík. During his period of study he undertook numerous experiments with style, which coalesced in Italy as a polemic figuration in the Carcasses series (e.g. Black Bull, 1956; Jerusalem, Israel Mus.)

A cosmopolitan and eclectic artist, Erró developed his work from his study of Old Masters such as Uccello and Bosch, and his close association with the Chilean Surrealist Roberto Matta in 1959. Photomontages and assemblages of found objects underlay his continued interest in Surrealist techniques. In the early 1960s, prompted by repeated visits to the USA, Erró began using popular imagery. In common with other artists associated with ...

Article

French, 20th century, male.

Active also active in Germany.

Born 1926, in Sauve; died 2 December 1987, in Les Eyzies (Dordogne).

Installation artist, performance artist, video artist. Multimedia.

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Mail Art (forerunner).

The French artist Robert Filliou was closely associated with the Fluxus group, his career embracing French, German and American developments. Having moved to the USA in ...

Article

Vanina Costa

(b Sauve, Gard, Jan 17, 1926; d les Eyzies-de-Tayac-Sireuil, nr Périgueux, Dec 2, 1987).

French performance artist, conceptual artist and writer. He studied economics and science at the University of California at Los Angeles from 1948 to 1951, but he was self-taught as an artist. Having first worked as a playwright during the second half of the 1950s, in 1960 he presented the first of his performances incorporating poetry. By 1962 he was involved with the Fluxus movement; sharing his fellow artists’ distaste for marketable art objects, he not only continued to create performances and other ephemeral works but also involved himself in conceptual gestures such as the foundation of a ‘République Géniale’. He made films and videos, sent enigmatic objects through the post as a form of correspondence art and worked against traditional ideas about the individuality of the artist by working collaboratively with others: in 1964 he and Joachim Pfeufer created the Poïpoïdrome, a group researching ‘permanent creation’ and the ‘principle of equivalence’, and in ...

Article

Fluxus  

Michael Corris

Informal international group of avant-garde artists working in a wide range of media and active from the early 1960s to the late 1970s. Their activities included public concerts or festivals and the dissemination of innovatively designed anthologies and publications, including scores for electronic music, theatrical performances, ephemeral events, gestures and actions constituted from the individual’s everyday experience. Other types of work included the distribution of object editions, correspondence art and concrete poetry. According to the directions of the artist, Fluxus works often required the participation of a spectator in order to be completed (see Performance art).

The name Fluxus, taken from the Latin for ‘flow’, was originally conceived by the American writer, performance artist and composer George Maciunas (1931–78) in 1961 as the title for a projected series of anthologies profiling the work of such artists as the composer La Monte Young (b 1935), ...

Article

British, 20th century, male.

Born 1931.

Performance artist, sculptor of assemblages, painter (mixed media).

Neo-Dadaism, Fluxus.

Geoffrey Hendricks joined Fluxus in 1966. In 1971, together with Bici Forbes Hendricks and George Maciunas, he created Flux Divorce, the movement's principal manifestation. He was also involved in several avant-garde festivals and, in ...

Article

German, 20th century, male.

Born 14 June 1945, in Blekede; died 28 May 2007.

Painter, sculptor, installation artist. Scenes with figures.

Fluxus, New Fauves.

Jörg Immendorf studied at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, at first on the theatre design course under the direction of Teo Otto and then in the studio of Joseph Beuys. He taught at the art academies in Stockholm in ...

Article

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

[net art]

Sarah Cook and Marialaura Ghidini

Art that uses the Internet not only as its tool of production and distribution but also as its source material or medium, and exploits or reflects the Internet’s inherently connective characteristics. While not a distinct art form or style, Internet art has been discussed in connection to the history of media art, predominantly through studies of the screen (see Bosma, 2013; Manovich, 2001) and the way things are framed, including still or moving images (see Video art and New media art in India). Internet art exceeds this narrow definition and its lineage can be better understood in the context of telecommunications, with a focus on information exchange and its occurrences through networked channels of transmission and their inherent politics. Because of this it is linked to Conceptual art practices, including intermedia art, Fluxus, and Correspondence art (such as the work of Knowles, Alison...

Article

Anna Bentkowska

(b Wielopole, nr Kraków, April 6, 1915; d Kraków, Dec 8, 1990).

Polish painter, draughtsman, theatre director and stage designer. He studied painting and stage design under Karol Frycz (1877–1963) at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków, graduating in 1939. After the outbreak of World War II he organized in Kraków an experimental underground theatre (1942–4), exhibitions and art discussions. He painted and produced numerous drawings and stage designs for future performances. He was influenced by various artistic movements such as Constructivism, Expressionism and Futurism, as well as by the writings of Bruno Schultz (1892–1942) and Stanisław Ignacy Witkiewicz (ii), whose plays he later staged. In 1947 he went to Paris, where at the Palais de la Découverte he ‘discovered’ the infinity of nature that he examined through the microscopic images of cells and cross-sections of minerals. As the scientific approach to this was beyond his means, he began to explore the natural world by developing the concept of inner, intellectual and spiritual space through the act of artistic creation. He called it ‘the umbrellic space’. A series of abstract and metaphorical paintings and drawings followed, with the motif of an umbrella that could ‘fold’ and ‘unfold’ the space (e.g. ...