The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Saturday, July 2, 2022

Cardi Gallery opens a retrospective dedicated to the work of Wolf Vostell
Wolf Vostell, Berlin Fieber, 1973; Acrylic on photo-canvas and objects; 190 x 140 x 20 cm.

LONDON.- Cardi Gallery is presenting its first retrospective dedicated to the work of Wolf Vostell (Leverkusen, 1932 - Berlin, 1998). German by birth, the artist was deeply influenced by his native culture and several other historical European ones, particularly those of Spain and Italy. Shaping his practice through an honest, uncontaminated cultural fusion, they contributed to making him a key figure in the development of the artistic discourse across Europe over the second half of the Twentieth century.

One of the founders of Fluxus, Vostell, was an eclectic pioneer engaged with a variety of media. He was among the first artists to adopt video and installation as essential linguistic tools in his practice and the first to include a television within an artwork in 1958. Through a selection of videos, paintings, sculptures and installations spanning from 1967 to 1998, the exhibition Wolf Vostell | Destruction is Life takes the viewer on a journey unfolding over three floors of the Mayfair townhouse space, examining some of the many facets underpinning Vostell’s oeuvre, always with humanity at the centre. Moving beyond the Fluxus attitude of considering life as a work of art, the artist asserted that “every man is a work of art” and how by discovering one’s inner life, one can be a work of art.

From early installations such as Radar Alarm F, 1969, where a racing bike sports a bag full of alarms and a functioning TV set on its back rack, to his final work Ritz, 1998, a wall-based mixed media piece featuring a miniTV embedded in a shop window dummy wearing female underwear, the television features heavily throughout Vostell’s practice. At times, it is a technology apparatus displaying video art, the documentation of performances, or simply interference signals. In others, a sculptural element stripped of its function. When on, the images it transmits are ephemeral, momentaneous impressions fixed in the absurdity of time, highlighting a stark, unexpected contrast against the stillness of their surroundings.

Crude still images, often depicting trauma, death, and war horrors, populate Vostell’s practice. From gasmask-clad figures (The dead man who is thirsty, 1978 and Archai, 1981) to fighter planes fading in and out of sight amid unescapably piercing sound (Starfighters, 1967), to a US Army dinghy laden with casts of body parts (Kafka’s Boat, 1990), advancing tanks (Le Choc, 1990). Scenes of war also populate the House of Deaf, 1977, a large environment the artist created for documenta 6, a model of which is included in the exhibition. Consisting of a black-tiled indoor swimming pool surrounded by fourteen large scale panels, each depicting a different scene from the Vietnam war and each with an embedded monitor playing another TV channel, The House of Deaf is one of several homages by Vostell to Spanish master Francisco Goya.

The tension between the West and the Eastern Block was another recurring motif. Between 1989 and 1998, Vostell produced over fifty Fall of the Berlin Wall works commemorating the historical event. The current war in Ukraine - the heart of geographical Europe - pushes us to reopen a problematic chapter of this history that continues spreading fear and insecurity into the fabric of the present. There is no certainty that even a peace process could reap a stable resolution. Vostell, a political activist and an artist, spoke of “Peace as the primary work of art”, a concept actualised only through culture and art as the only forces capable of generating real peace rather than control, violence, or death. For the German artist, art was first and foremost ethical, a moral act rather than an aesthetic exercise.

Vostell saw destruction as the most potent aspect of change and, in his décoll/ages, found a signifier for the destructive process of life and its contradictions. Through their characteristic interplay and juxtaposition of often dissonant items and images, interwoven in intricate webs of transcultural, transnational and multidisciplinary connections, often crude yet somewhat absurd and humorous, his works are constantly confronting and unsettling. They force the audience back to a disturbing reality, with all its disorienting fragments, challenging them to reflect critically on its intricacies and their relationship with it. Imbued with memory, they aim not to entertain, forget or distract as that could lead to the rise of other conflict and intolerance.

Wolf Vostell | Destruction is Life is a testimony to the everyday and its dichotomies through works where memory, war, and humanity reverberate on the stage of world history. In Vostell’s words, art shall remind us that we must remember.

Today's News

May 6, 2022

Museum of Natural History's renewed hall holds treasures and pain

Aboriginal Art returns to Sotheby's New York with largest & most significant auction ever staged outside Australia

Christie's June 20/21 season to continue its celebration of the cultural dialogue between London and Paris

Lark Mason Associates Sale of Asian, Ancient and Ethnographic Works of Art achieves $1,076,618

Haroon Mirza's first solo show in Germany on view at max goelitz gallery

Inverted error stamp from 1901 brings $5,500 at Holabird auction

'Nadav Kander: The Thread' opens at Howard Greenberg Gallery

Sabrina Pritchett to join Dayton Art Institute leadership team as External Affairs Director

Susanne Gaensheimer to remain Director of the Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen

Michelangelo's Madonna of the Stairs and Battle of the Centaurs restored thanks to Friends of Florence

Andrew Kreps Gallery now represents Clare Rojas

Olga de Amaral to receive honorary degree

Fondation Louis Vuitton presents Fugues in Color

Cardi Gallery opens a retrospective dedicated to the work of Wolf Vostell

Sculpture by the Sea launches The Snowy Valleys Sculpture Trail

Claus Stangl awarded 2022 Archibald Packing Room Prize for portrait of Academy Award-winning filmmaker Taika Waititi

In this Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's platinum jubilee year...The Petworth Park Antiques & Fine Art Fair

Cartier 101-carat Colombian emerald Art Deco bracelet leads NY Jewels Auction at Bonhams

Winchester cartridge board hits the mark for CA$70,800 in Miller & Miller auction

Take a joy ride through Disneyland history with Heritage Auctions May 21-22

New Orleans Museum of Art announces acquisition of Wangechi Mutu's Crocodylus

Alejandra Riera's new project now on view at Museo Reina Sofía

IU Eskenazi Museum of Art announces two new members of senior leadership team and three new hires

Yun Mapplethorpe named Director of Katonah Museum of Art

What Are the TOP Paying Online Casinos?

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. Hommage
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful