Aachen: th (= Technische Hochschule), 1964
30 x 21cm, unpaginated 28pp. including original pictorial wrappers displaying 36 photo-booth portraits of all of the participants. Edited by Schmit, Thomas and Wolf Vostell. The first edition of this documentation of an exceptionally important, nay, legendary, one day performance art event which included works from most of the soon to be well-established and commercially successful German avant garde.
The catalogue gave each artist space to elaborate on their performances or to contribute biographical details and after the programme for the day and an introduction by Valdis Abolins, there are in alphabetical order contributions from Eric Andersen (along with comments in English on performances he intended to stage by Dick Higgins and George Brecht) and, then, Beuys (his revised autobiography complete with deliberate inaccuracies such as the artist stating his birth in 1921 was “an exhibition of a wound drawn together with plaster – Beuys also famously here suggests that the Berlin wall should be raised by 5 cm because in his words – it would then have “better proportions”. Brock displays a two page biographical text in German while Stanley Brouwn displays some biographical notes and invites the reader to carry out a THIS WAY BROUWN (“Make a drawing of the route Brouwn has to take to get from the train station of your city to your home”) and asks for it to be sent tohimself in Amsterdam. Henning Christansen has several action scores and a text in English and Filliou reproduces a “Letter to Cher Makoto” and “NUL N’ EST PROPHETE ….”. Gosewitz has biographical notes and invite for a postal event(including a tipped on coupon for subscriptions) and a “Texte postal fur Emmett Williams). Again Arthur Koepcke has narrative biographical notes and an anecdote (in German) while Tomas Schmit opposite biographical notes has a tipped on envelope containing printed instructions for a”do it yourself” artwork (a vivograph) in English and German – this item is sometimes missing as to complete the work the owner was to send it to Schmit – it is present here. Vautier’s Egomanic Manifest is followed by Vostell’s biography and bibliography and a one page manifesto from the alternative pole of German Fluxus activity Emmett Williams has a biographical text and a list of exhibitions and publications. Sadly George Brecht’s performance “Motor vehicle sundown (event)” is not in the catalogue and is only mentioned on the program page.
The event took place on the twentieth anniversary of the attempt to assassinate Hitler on 20 July 1944 and the mood for the events was set by Bazon Brock’s talk deploying texts by Marx and Hegel. Brock took his cue from Hegel’s maxim that ”philosophy is the world turned upside down” and gave his talk while standing on his head while actions from the other artists continued simultaneously. One notable event was when Beuysperforming an action titled “Kukei/Akopee nein!”- right-wing students stormed the stage in protest and one punched Beuys so hard that his nose bled dramatically. The blood from Beuys’ nose led to a famous photograph of the artist with a smudge that looked very like a “Hitler” moustache – Beuys took advantage of this and gave a Hitler salute for the camera. The police were called and as a result many of the planed events could not be performed.
This is a rare item indeed especially complete with the Schmit enclosures. Some wear to the wrappers with some handling creases and the back page has at some point been detached but is retained with only some minor closed paper tears, the internal pages used cheap paper so is mostly browned but the pages are not fragile.
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