press release

At the Lower Gallery of Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, the exhibition Fluxus East was presented, focussing on Fluxus networks behind the "Iron Curtain" in the 1960's. How to define Fluxus is a contested issue by the artists involved and scholars alike; but basically Fluxus can be seen as an international network of artists whose works shared a number of common features, among these a wish to free art from its romantic notion and a departure from the idea that art must necessarily manifest itself as an object, in order to focus instead on the process. This meant that various kinds of performances, concerts, and events became central, as did the interaction with an audience. One should not just be an onlooker but participate. Another common denominator was the intermediary element, i.e., the strategies to be found in the cross field among two or more traditional modes of artistic expressions, such as visual art, music or poetry. The emphasis on international networks was also characteristic, thus anticipating today's globalization by decades. The movement had its main centres in the US, Western Europe and Japan. But what about this "intermedia" art behind the "Iron Curtain"?

From 1962 onwards, Fluxus East came into being as a manifestation in its own right, due to the creative exchange between Fluxus artists and artists and musicians of the former Eastern Bloc. Here, Fluxus art assumed a very special position exactly because of its liberating potential vis-àvis the rigid political regimes. In these countries Fluxus found itself in a direct opposition to the politically regulated art scene in general and mainly operated as an underground phenomenon. Fluxus found its way in in a number of different ways, among these personal contacts, leading to very different Fluxus actions. These included Fluxus concerts in Lithuania, Prague and Budapest; and a special mention should be made of Danish artist Eric Andersen's legendary journey as the first Fluxus artist to several Eastern European countries, giving performances in private apartments.

Fluxus East represented a first stocktaking of the diverse Fluxus activities in the former Eastern Bloc; and the exhibition showed parallel developments and artistic practices inspired by Fluxus, which are still adopted by some young artists today. The fact remains that on many levels Fluxus art has been a forerunner of some of the strategies employed by contemporary art today. Besides the "classic" Fluxus objects, the exhibition included film interviews with Fluxus artists, photographs, films, correspondence, and recordings of music that document the presence of Fluxus in the former Eastern Bloc. As an interactive exhibition, Fluxus East aimed to facilitate a profound encounter with ideas, works and texts – some presented as facsimiles to permit intense study.

Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, and Fluxus art Nikolaj, Copenhagen Contemporary Art Center, holds a special position in the history of Fluxus art. The then Nikolaj Church was where some of the first international Fluxus concerts took place in 1962, arranged in co-operation with Arthur Köpcke and Det Unge Tonekunstnerselskab, The Society of Young Composers. Back then, these early concerts caused considerable outrage and commotion; but today they have become an almost legendary part of Danish and international contemporary art history, not to mention Nikolaj's own history. In the years following 1962, Nikolaj provided the setting for numerous Fluxus and Fluxus related events, and today Fluxus sound works – along with many other sound works – can be heard in a permanently installed jukebox in the tower of the Art Center.

only in german

Kurator: Petra Stegmann

Künstler: Gabor Altorjay, Eric Andersen, Miklos Erdely, György Galantai, Tibor Hajas, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Tadeusz Kantor, Milan Knizak, Alison Knowles, Julius Koller, Jaroslaw Kozlowski, Vytautas Landsbergis, Leonhard Lapin, George Maciunas, Jonas Mekas, Raul Meel, Larry Miller, Arvo Pärt/Mart Lille/Kuldar Sink/Toomas Velmet, Benjamin Patterson, Mieko Shiomi, Slave Pianos , SOUP 69 / Leonhard Lapin, Tamas St. Auby, Endre Tót, Gabor Toth, Jiri Valoch, Ben Vautier, Branko Vucicevic, Emmett Williams

28.10.10 - 27.02.11 Henie Onstad Kunstsenter
07.03.09 - 17.05.09 Kunsthallen Nikolaj, Kopenhagen
05.09.08 - 23.11.08 KUMU Art Museum, Tallinn
01.04.08 - 01.06.08 Ludwig Museum Budapest
08.02.08 - 23.03.08 Bunkier Stzuki, Krakau
30.11.07 - 13.01.08 Contemporary Art Center, Vilnius
27.09.07 - 04.11.07 Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin