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Fluxus: anti-art of the 70′s

The word Fluxus probably does not speak to most
of the people. In this article we will try to change this fact. Moreover, you
will get acquainted with one of the most creative and unusual tendency in the
world of art. Or, it is better to say anti-art.

We have
already mentioned that the term anti-art
was first used by Marchel Duchamp towards his readymades. We’ve mentioned that way back in the article about Dada movement. And it is no strange
coincidence, because Fluxus arose
from the Dadaist traditions and ideas. There are quite a lot of similarities
between them, but also many differences. They simply cannot be complete
parallels; the timing of the movements was drastically dissimilar. Dada burst out in the very beginning of
20th century, while Fluxus
appeared in the early 70s.

To get to
know better what Fluxus artists wanted, let’s take a look at their manifesto
composed in 1963 by one of the main activists of the movement George Maciunas.

image

Influenced
by Dada and experimental music of John Cage (who was keen on the idea of an
artwork without a conception of its ending and the art as an interactive
process between artist and the audience), Fluxus
was a multidisciplinary movement that included architecture, music,
performances, poetry, urban planning, visual art and much more.

 Its
participants came from the various areas, including economics and chemistry.
The movement appreciated anti-commercial aesthetics and was aimed at making art
more approachable to the regular people. It strove for everyday life to enter
the art area, just like Duchamp did. They wanted to mix art with life and to
create new form of reality, with no commerce and no high art standards that were
approved by critics.  

“Anti-art
is life, is nature, is true reality—it is one and all.” said George Maciunas
during his lecture about Fluxus.

The name of
the movement, as we saw in the manifesto, came from the word flux, which means to flow. And just like a giant intermediate art flow, Fluxus gather a great number of artists, such as, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono, Nam
June Paik, Dick Higgins, George Maciunas.

image

The
movement was very social and political; it had a lot of women artists, and believed in the feminist ideas. In
some ways, they were fans of the Soviet Union. Many of their notions were quite
utopic, like one with the special communities and co-livings similar to the
soviet Kolkhozs. They wanted everybody to produce art and to broaden out the meaning of what is considered as art. The movement had a great impact on the relations between museums and artists, and also have shaped significantly the classical artist’s role. This was the beginning of the Conceptual Art and Postmodernist reality, as well as the initiation of the video art

Fluxus artist were revolutionaries who wanted to
shake up the “civilized” art world, and even change the real world. But as we have said, it promoted the
interaction with the viewer, which immediately leads us to the gaming concept.
The game is extremely important to the Fluxus
movement, as well as humor, gags, and sarcasm. But do not underestimate its
message; the form might be playful and comical here and there, but the ideas
behind it were more than real.

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