Artist: Robert Filliou
Venue: NoguerasBlanchard, Madrid
Exhibition Title: Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of multiples and editions
Date: November 16, 2019 – February 1, 2020
Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.
Images courtesy of NoguerasBlanchard, Madrid/Barcelona. Photos by Roberto Ruiz.
NoguerasBlanchard is proud to present Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of editions and multiples by Robert Filliou, an artist whose influence during the 60’s radically changed the way we viewed art by presenting it as a playful investigation that could take place across any medium, or not take place at all, existing as an unrealized idea. Filliou challenged the status of art as a finished product,bypassing the conventions of the art market in favor of the handmade, evanescent and indeterminate qualities of the continuing artistic process; his productions —named “artistic propositions”— include theatre plays, action-poems, street performances, happenings, object poems, assemblages, multiples, mail art, books, texts, games, conceptual maps, installations, films and videos.
Taking its name from the title of one of the works in the exhibition, Dear Skywatcher presents a selection of multiples, of which Robert Filliou produced over a hundred during his lifetime, either alone or in collaboration with other artists such as George Brecht, Emmett Williams and Daniel Spoerri. Drawing on Filliou’s own interactive and dialogue based projects and his interest in communication through the act of exchange, NoguerasBlanchard presents a display designed by Paula García-Masedo, suggesting a different approach through devices that invite us to share and experiment the works in the exhibition. These reflections around language and words, communication and exchange can be seen in works such as 7 Childlike Uses of Warlike Material (1971), made in collaboration with Hartmut Kaminski, formed by photographs of ordinary objects- trouvés that can be identified in the texts both as possible war material and at the same time, displaced to imaginary places, such as mountains, the moon and the stars, overriding their capacity to harm and destroy and contributing to “the-art-of-peace”.
Filliou’s ideas and artistic strategies allowed for a critical stance towards both the pretensions of serious culture and economy of consumer capitalism. He thought of his works as instruments for our apprehension, tools of permanent creation and driving forces of change; art was not an end in itself and his propositions applied to everyday life, both social and politically. In the exhibition Dear Skywatcher we can also find echoes of a more passionate Filliou, based on notions of friendship, pity and love, for example, in Poeme Collectif (Robert Filliou et Cie)(1968), an exquisite corpse made in collaboration with Filliou and the public (Filliou et Cie); and other references to the artist’s existentialist character —questioning life, the void, concepts of infinity, zero, origin and time— as in his artwork The Speed of Art (1979), a mathematical function that seeks to overcome the separation between art and life demonstrating their existence in the same framework of time and space.
Robert Filliou was born in Sauve, France in 1926. After serving in the resistance during World War II, he moved to Los Angeles, earning a Master of Economics at the University of California Los Angeles. In 1951-1954, he traveled to Japan and worked for the United Nations in South Korea, and there discovered the philosophies of Zen Buddhism that would change the course of his activities. He settled in Paris in 1959 where he met Daniel Spoerri who introduced him to his artistic circle. From 1969 to 1972, he lived in Düsseldorf, amidst a rich artistic scene including Dieter Roth, Dorothy Iannone, Marcel Broodthaers, and Joseph Beuys among others. In 1979, he moved to Dordogne close to a center for Tibetan studies. He died in Les Eyzies, France in 1987.