Artwork of the month October

Ben Vautier, Ben reçoit ici, 1962/1970

Ben Vautier

* 1935 in Neapel

 Ben reçoit ici, 1962/1970

Acrylic paint on photo frame, wooden chair, lacquered wooden pedestal
Photo frame 23.7 x 29.5 x 2.5 cm Chair 87 x 38 x 40 cm Pedestal 6 x 58 x 59.5 cm

"Ben reçoit ici" (Ben receives here) is written on a black painted picture. The paint of the writing has been pastily applied; the frame is heightened with the same paint. To what does "ici" correspond? Where receives Ben? Whom does he receive? Where is Ben? The painted arrow shows downward, to the seating of a wooden chair, which apparently shows some traces of use. Its placement reminds us of information plates, how they are used to reserve a seat for somebody.

Ben Vautier is one of the outstanding members of FLUXUS-movement. At the end of the 1950's these artists broke the separation between art and life. In form of actions, events, and festivals new ways have been discovered to expand the traditional concept of work. During some of these FLUXUS-actions, Ben, sitting on a chair, invited as a living sculpture people to discuss with him. This chair is one of those chairs he used for these actions. It is the relict of a past action that now gets a new dimension in the exhibition space. The aspect of the ephemeral, which is part of these actions, becomes now concrete. The ordinary chair became meaningful. The text-image, a black-painted photo frame, now becomes an image of memory. It replaces the photograph, which would document the action by Vautier.

For Vautier the use of language is a main form to express. It turned to be the visual motif itself when he started to write simple sentences, questions or instructions with white paint on monochrome grounding. With phrases like: "Apprenez à voir le beau partout dans chaque détail" (learn to see the beautiful everywhere in each detail) the artist does not only confront directly the viewer, but – like in his actions – he incorporates him. "Ben reçoit ici" gives thought to a since the 1960's ongoing question how to proceed with a expanded concept of

work, a question the artist himself seems to have answered in one of his text-images from 1964: "Ben est art/Ben is art/Ben ist Kunst".

<b>Ben Vautier, Ben reçoit ici, 1962/1970</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.