Continuing our weekly run of artists from the 60’s or 70’s that have made an impact on contemporary practice, today we bring you French Fluxus artist Robert Filliou. The Fluxus movement didn’t believe that art had to express itself in the form of objects, but was rather a vehicle for vague and poetic ideas. His works are mostly comprised of attitudes and gestures without any saleable object or work. Although he did produce works made of string, cardboard and wood, they were mostly used to convey random ideas.
Filliou produced his first artwork in 1960 Le Collage de l’immortelle mort du monde (Collage of the Immortal Death of the World), a transcription of a theater play that can be compared to a chessboard. In 1962, he decided to remain outside of the gallery circuit and maintained to carry his gallery under his hat: “La Galerie Légitime” [The Legitimate Gallery]. His works, gathered together in his beret and stamped “Galerie Légitime Couvre Chef d’Oeuvre” [Legitimate Gallery Masterpiece Hat], circulated in the streets with him (an idea closely related to Marcel Duchamp’s suitcase).
Robert Filliou is mostly remembered for establishing “Art’s Birthday”, when he claimed in 1963 that on January 17 (coincidentally the day of his birthday) precisely 1,000,010 years earlier, art was born when somebody dropped a dry sponge into a bucket of water.
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