Wolf Vostell

Born in 1932 in Leverkusen (DE)
Died in 1998 in Berlin (DE)

Grosse Sitzung mit da

Mixed media on canvas
200 x 120 cm
Actuellement en dépôt : Musée départemental d'art ancien et contemporain, Epinal
Year of Purchase: 1984

Wolf Vostell’s whole production is marked by a quest for absolute artistic freedom, which reached its peak in the happenings of the Fluxus movement—he was one of the joint founding members of the group in the early 1960s. The artist’s works invariably contain a certain violence meant to convey the errors and passions of society. Vostell was in fact keen to merge art and life. Through simple deeds, he wanted to bestir the spectator’s thinking. In 1954, he came up with a new form of reality retrieval within the Affichistes group, which included artists such as Raymond Hains and François Dufrêne. Vostell then developed what he would call the principle of the ‘de-coll/age’, which took form through the use of torn posters removed from city walls. More broadly, this working method was part of the erasure, recovery and appropriation of media. Works such as Grosse Sitzung mit da (1961), consisting of shredded advertising posters, follow the principle of wild de-collage. This escape into the real denies all manner of mythology in relation to the creative act. Vostell extended this process of fragmentation to all of everyday urban reality by using cars, radio sets and even televisions. These objects are dealt with in unexpected ways so as to give rise to emotional shocks, by way of their tragic appropriation.

Sophie Richard