Ben Vautier Bizart Baz'art   from April 2024

The Bizart Baz’art by Ben Vautier

The Kunsthalle Bremen is welcoming a spectacular installation by artist Ben Vautier (*1935 in Naples, lives in France). The bizarre art store is a major work by the French-Swiss Fluxus artist and an significant enriching addition to the museum’s collection. This key work of the artist is a gift of the Karin and Uwe Hollweg Foundation on occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Kunstverein in Bremen.

Ben Vautier’s Bizart Baz’art consists of 351 objects and text panels attached to the outside and inside of the kiosk-like building. Discarded everyday objects, works of art of dubious quality and Vautier’s handwritten slogans are strung together like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The pieces relate to each other in a complex network and invite you to explore the bizarre art bazaar from all sides.

Total Art and Fluxus
The exuberant, walk-in kiosk is reminiscent of the shop in Nice where Ben Vautier sold used vinyl records and since 1955 and later also organised exhibitions. Here he already nailed objects and inscriptions to the shop fronts, which are now in the collection of the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Since the 1950s, handwritten words and short, concise sentences have been Ben Vautier’s main tool for conveying his artistic concept. Impressed by the ready-made idea of Marcel Duchamp, who declared found objects to be works of art, Ben Vautier decided to turn the whole world into his studio and everything in the world into his artistic material. For example, he signed all kinds of things that previously had no signature, such as people, holes, God, the horizon and much more. In his Gestes series, he turned everyday actions into works of art, such as swimming through the harbour in Nice or walking. In line with the Fluxus motto “Everything is art”, Vautier blurs the boundary between art and everyday life in his works.

Art and Consumerism
In Bizart Baz’art, Ben Vautier focuses on art and consumer culture. The vast number of different objects and slogans reflect the insatiability of our consumerist society. The bizarre art bazaar makes us think about what art actually is and whether there is anything that cannot be bought. Ben Vautier remembers the creation of the work: “Initially, I thought that in the Fluxus spirit, I would show everything that couldn’t be sold: illusions, lies, holes, missing objects, etc. But as I looked for things that couldn’t be sold, I realised that society’s crushing machine could swallow and sell everything. So I called it ‘everything is merchandise, because everything is art, there’s no escaping it’.” However, Vautier is also concerned with ways out of the consumerist maelstrom: sharing and bartering, relationships with others and how art can reach as many people as possible.