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Ben Vautier

"Be careful Culture can manipulates."


Notes of biography

Benjamin Vautier, known as Ben, is born in Naples (Italy) in 1935 and stays there until 5 years old. Then he discovers Switzerland, Turkey, Egypt, and his mother chooses to settle in Nice in 1949. When he is 15 years old, he is an handyman in a bookshop (Le Nain Bleu). He turns over pages of art books and decides that: “To be beautiful, the beautiful has necessary to shock or had shocked”. Time goes on, Ben makes many meetings (Fontan, Malaval, Arman, Klein, etc). He leaves Le Nain Bleu, creates a stationery, then a secondhand discs store which he decorates himself. The “shop” becomes little by little a place of appointments for young people who dream “to break new”.
There, Yves Klein suggests him to use Indian ink in the great poems Ben composes. In 1959, Ben becomes enthusiastic for the New Realism; he writes Spoerri a letter which will be the first manuscript of his review “Ben God”, developing his theory of the “all is possible in art”, the art which must at the same time bring a shock and to be new. Ben’s art becomes an art of appropriation, thus he signs what never was it !
Invited by Spoerri in Misfits Fair of London, he meets there George Maciunas who invites Ben to join the Fluxus group (“All is Art”). It is the beginning of the “Mail Art” where poetry, appropriations and megalomania are together, of “the happenings, the theatre and the Fluxus concerts” (pianos are broken, rooms filled with papers, etc).1965, it is the time of the “actions of street”. Ben publishes a review named “All”, and distributes his sheets of mood “I like and I attack”. For the artist, is abolished the border between the art and the life. Ben organizes regularly exhibitions and is often exposed (Tamplon Gallery - 1994, Museum of Marseille - 1995, etc). Ben does not finish with the art, the Culture and with his ego.

Artists on display

The art and the artists display: proclamations, galleries, museums, personal or collective exhibitions. On walls or in shop windows, wise or rebels, posters warn, argue, show. Some were specially conceived by an artist for such or such event, other, colder, have only the letter.

Some were created in lithographic technic, most are simple offset reproductions. They are many those who like collecting these rectangles of paper, monochrome or in games of colours, in matt paper or brilliant, with many words or almost dumb.

We are happy also to be able to greet, by this pages, mythical galleries as those of Denise René, Louis Carré, Claude Bernard, Berheim Jeune, Maeght, Pierre Loeb and others.


Complete work(s)

Complete work(s)
*« C.R. » en préparation par Ben. All the complete works

Bibliographic track and more

To read about the artist :
  • « Ben », Stedelijk museum, Amsterdam, 1973
  • « Tout Ben », Musées de Nice, 1985
  • « Ben, pour ou contre : Une rétrospective », Musée de Marseille, Ed. RMN, 1995
  • « Les litanies de Ben », P. Tilman, L’Evidence, Fontenay-sous-Bois, 1997
  • « Je cherche la vérité », cat d'expo, MAMAC, Nice, Ed. Flammarion, 2001
  • « Ben Vautier, il provocatore », cat d'expo, Ed. Prearo, 2008
  • « Ben, Strip-tease intégral », T. Raspail, cat d'expo, Ed. MAC, Lyon et Somogy, 2010
  • «  Fluxus continue et ne s’arrêtera jamais » Fondation du Doute, Ed. Favre SA, 2013
  • « Ben Ministre des affaires des étrangères », Ed. Favre SA, Lausanne, 2015
  • « Ben, Tout est art ? », cat d'expo, Musée Maillol, Ed. Fonds Mercator, 2016
To read from the artist :
  • « Ma vie, mes conneries : 1935-1997 », Ben et A. Vautier, Ed. Z'editions, 1997
  • « Suicide d'artiste », Ben Vautier, Col. Textes essentiels, Ed. L' esprit du Temps, 2008
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Art movements

+ FLUXUS / 1960-1972 / Georges Maciunas, George Brecht, John Cage, Robert Filliou, Per Kikerby, Nam June Paik, etc.
+ SCHOOL OF NICE / 1965-1975 / Jean-Claude Farhi, Robert Filliou, Roland Flexner, Serge III, Pierre Pinoncelli, etc.
All art movements

See & discover

Beyond works currently in stock, it seemed to me useful to combine business with pleasure by letting you discover others works by artists in my gallery. These artworks, now sold or removed from our website, have been in our stock in the past.

These pages will undoubtedly make it possible for some of you to associate an image with its title or the other way round, for others it will be a good time to discover more on such and such artist. For the sake of confidentiality – the pieces being no longer available – we won't display neither their numbering or their price. For whatever reason, make sure to visit this amazing art database with to date 6441 online works just for your pleasure! Michelle Champetier

See & discover