Friday 25th October 2019

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Fluxus

Fluxus was an international, interdisciplinary community of artists, composers, designers and poets during the 1960s and 1970s who engaged in experimental art performances which emphasized the artistic process over the finished product.

Fluxus is known for experimental contributions to different artistic media and disciplines and for generating new art forms. These art forms include intermedia, a term coined by Fluxus artist Dick Higgins

The origins of Fluxus lie in many of the concepts explored by composer John Cage in his experimental music of the 1930s through the 1960s. After attending courses on Zen Buddhism taught by D. T. Suzuki, Cage taught a series of classes in experimental composition from 1957 to 1959 at the New School for Social Research in New York City. These classes explored the notions of chance and indeterminacy in art, using music scores as a basis for compositions that could be performed in potentially infinite ways. Some of the artists and musicians who became involved in Fluxus, including Jackson Mac Low, La Monte Young, George Brecht, Al Hansen, and Dick Higgins attended Cage’s classes. A major influence is found in the work of Marcel Duchamp.Also of importance was Dada Poets and Painters, edited by Robert Motherwell, a book of translations of Dada texts that was widely read by members of Fluxus.

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Dada

The term anti-art, a precursor to Dada, was coined by Duchamp around 1913, when he created his first readymades from found objects (ordinary objects found or purchased and declared art). Indifferently chosen, readymades and altered readymades challenged the notion of art as an inherently optical experience, dependent on academic art skills. The most famous example is Duchamp’s infamous altered readymade Fountain (1917), a work which he signed “R. Mutt.” While taking refuge from WWI in New York, in 1915 Duchamp formed a Dada group with Francis Picabia and American artist Man Ray. Other key members included Arthur Craven, Florine Stettheimer, and the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven, credited by some with proposing the idea for Fountain to Duchamp. By 1916 these artists, especially Duchamp, Man Ray, and Picabia, became the center for radical anti-art activities in New York City. Their artworks would inform Fluxus and conceptual art in general.[26] In the late 1950s and very early 1960s, Fluxus and contemporaneous groups or movements, including Happenings, Nouveau réalisme, mail art, and action art in Japan, Austria, and other international locations were, often placed under the rubric of Neo-Dada”.

The Art Critic 1919-20 by Raoul Hausmann 1886-1971

DaDa | DaDa artist Raoul Hausmann, “The Art Critic” Collage

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I liked the pieces of paper moving together very much but as for the tree and the smashing of stuff. This I am not so keen on. I prefer the work where it is found objects and a play on words such as Joan Brossa a Catalan poet, playwright, graphic designer and visual artist. For him, expression had priority over content, and he managed to give his poetry the appearance of plays on words. His lyrical work is connected with the theatre while the totality of his literature  is impregnated with the theatrical dimension as he always employed a broad and interdisciplinary vision of culture, the arts in general and the performance arts in particular.

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This vision was expressed in his literary and visual works which often appeared as satirical, cutting, ironic and critical or, on other occasions, irreverent yet playful. In the latter years of his creative life, he received a number of awards such as the National Prize for the Visual Arts (1992), the National Theatre Prize (1998) and the UNESCO Picasso Medal. He has been posthumously awarded doctorate honoris causa from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (1999). He was a member and then Honorary Member of the Associació d’Escriptors en Llengua Catalana (Association of Catalan Language Writers). His visual poetry (poesia plàstica), obviously placed beyond all linguistic borders, is recognized as a reference the world over.

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He was one of the founders of both the group and the publication known as Dau-al-Set (1948) and one of the leading early proponents of visual poetry in Catalan literature. Although he was in the vanguard of the post-war poets. He also wrote hundreds of formally perfect sonnets, saphic odes and sestinas as well as thousands of free and direct poems. His creative work embraced every aspect of the arts: cinema, theatre (more of 360 pieces), music, cabaret, the para-theatrical arts, magic and the circus.

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Ariel Schlesinger appears to me to be in the realms of Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono and Nam June Paik. Fluxus and Dada.

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Francis Picabia, (1879-1953); “Tableau Rastadada,” 1920; cut-and-pasted printed paper on paper with ink.

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Above is my creation, my  piece. Cut-and-pasted plus scissors, printed paper on paper with ink “Vodka Can make you Can-Can”.

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Ariel Schlesinger  is an Israeli artist who lives and works in Berlin and Mexico City. His diverse body of work navigates sculpture, conceptual art, and installation art. Schlesinger’s installations often dislocate everyday objects, rearranging them in ways that leave viewers simultaneously amused and apprehensive. In 2017, Schlesinger won an international competition to design a public work for the entrance of the newly renovated Jewish Museum in Frankfurt.

With an inventor’s imagination and a razor-sharp wit, Ariel Schlesinger creates new uses for mundane, utilitarian objects—like paper, cigarette lighters, and socks—animating things that are normally considered lifeless, if considered at all. Through his clever alterations, he personifies objects, drawing attention to their strangely moving fragility and beauty. In the Anguish of the White Page 2007.

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He places two sheets of white copy paper, whose corners are pressed against each other, on a low wooden table with a motor hidden underneath. Rotated by the motor, the papers spin in a slow, continuous circle, as if locked in a sad dance without beginning or end. In other whimsically inventive works, a single ash burns in seeming perpetuity in a cracked ashtray and an unsealed and soggy cardboard box somehow contains a puddle of water.

Between 1999 and 2003, Schlesinger studied at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem and the School of Visual Arts in New York City. Since moving to Berlin shortly after his graduation, he’s been awarded residencies in Germany, France, Italy and Japan. In 2012, Schlesinger was named “VHV-Artist of the Year,” earning a €25,000 prize from the German insurance and reinsurance company VHV Group. The work for which he won the prize, A Car Full of Gas, has been exhibited in Berlin and across Europe.

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His installations, sometimes deemed “space-interventions”, consist of ordinary objects, including cars, gas tanks, bikes, lighters, pencils, paper and socks, which are arranged in ways that both de-familiarize their everyday meaning and generate unexpected, humorous, and sinister associations. In his work A Car Full of Gas, for example, it is not human passengers that sit in the front seats of a vintage mini car, but rather two, 60-litre gas canisters, inevitably anthropomorphized given their context. From one of the car windows, a small flame burns. The clean, everyday elegance of the work has been read as an omen of catastrophe.[2] Perhaps nobody has been as precise as Gal Katz in capturing a key motive of Schlesinger’s work: the tension between the order of perfectly immaculate objects and arrangements, on the one hand, and a poignant sense of looming calamity, on the other.

In 2017, Schlesinger won an international competition to design a large-scale public work for the newly renovated Jewish Museum of Frankfurt. The proposal consists of an 11-meter tall sculpture composed of two trees whose branches are connected such that the roots of one tree point to the sky, while the other is firmly rooted in the ground. The estimated cost of producing and installing the work, largely financed by the Rothschild family, is €350,000.

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