Breakfast at Tiffany’s
"What do we mean when we talk about Fluxus?" This is the title that Sandro Ricaldone gave his text for the exhibition catalog The Fluxus Constellation, curated by Sandra Solimano for the Museum of Contemporary Art Villa Croce in Genoa in 2002.
And this is still my question. After I fell in love with Fluxus, and studied it, after having been involved with it for nearly forty years, organizing exhibitions and events both in private spaces and public institutions, after having written both in general and for individual artists, I know the best thing it can be done is to quote other authors , the artists and myself. I would therefore maliciously wish to say "do it yourself", substituting the text with an extensive bibliography, which in any case everyone can find on Wikipedia.
But this exhibition tempts me particularly because it is an invitation to a "Breakfast at Tiffany's", an entry into a Wunderkammer where you can find a selection of small but very precious and meaningful works, that really gives the idea of what the spirit of Fluxus is. And here I have to
quote, (in truth a self-quotation) "... I am aware that the word Fluxus returns an infinite number of times, I have never found a definition that persuades me regarding this extended " family " : it is not a group , it is not a movement, it is not a trend; it really is a "species" formed by many "exemples", which often move in the same "solar system" , which they enter and leave as they please ... The Fluxers are citizens of the planet, always ready to swarm from one country to another, from one continent to another, always themselves, always free, always "at home", always ready to change language, customs, cuisine, loved ones ... "1
Therefore, let's keep going with a small anthology of quotes, anarchically in a non chronological order, a microscopic Wunderkammer in the form of words, in which you can try to condense the "rivers of words" that were poured on such a fluent and elusive issue!
"Fluxus is a latin word Maciunas dug up. I never studied Latin. If it hadn't been for Maciunas nobody might have ever called it anything. We would all have gone our own ways, like the man crossing his street with his umbrella, and a woman walking a dog in another direction. We would have gone our own ways and done our own things: the only reference point for any of this bunch of people who liked each other's works, and each other, more or less, was Maciunas. So fluxus, as far as I'm concerned, is Maciunas."- George Brecht Happenings
"... A completely different vision of art that a few years later would have been called "Inter Media" by artist and scholar Dick Higgins, had a unique start simultaneously in Europe, USA and Japan, in the late fifties and early sixties ... What we did was actually to establish an international network of artists through a process of wide-spread mail art ... a sort of precomputer database, a network for art and communication ... "Eric Andersen"...
It's not that I was part of Fluxus but that Fluxus was part of me ... What I wanted to do was music that I had never heard. And I made it. " P Corner " Philip Corner
"... The sky is always in the flux, but is Fluxus in the sky?" Geoffrey Hendricks
"... Fluxus has been a frontier area, where people have been able to inspire each other ..." Mieko Shiomi 6
"... Without John Cage, Marcel Duchamp and Dada, Fluxus would not exist. Especially without
Cage who, I love to say, brainwashed us twice. The first time, at the level of contemporary music with the notion of indeterminacy; the other through his teaching of the Zen spirit and the will to depersonalize art "
Ben Vautier 7
"... Of course in times of globalization such as ours are, it comes natural to think of it as a GMO,
resulted from the hybridization of cultures and distant worlds, and of the happy mobility of its protagonists, always traveling in the virtual world of communication and in the real world of an actual relay race between America and Europe with more than a few intrusions into the rest of the world ... "Sandra Solimano
"... Fluxus is not something between this and that. Fluxus is everywhere at the same time. And nowhere ... "
"... And now the conclusion (I think) is" Fluxus is (can be) us all and Fluxus is (can be) everything. "Takako Saito
".One also notes that Fluxus often deals with things as though they had no meanings of their own. The piano gets its keys nailed down. The scores on the music stands are set on fire. One of the many things I love about these pieces is their glorious sense of caprice. To do anything so gratuitous is as though to offer an example of unadulterated human will. It’s rather like holding it up in the light so as to take a better look at it. Or like flexing an arm to fell the bulge of a muscle... "Henry Martin
"... In the beginning was the confusion. A heap of confusion. Not the kind we have today about what is or what was Fluxus or who Fluxus belongs to or doesn't belong to. But, at that time, there was quite a lot of flow in Fluxus. "Emmett Williams
"... Fluxus is neither a moment in history nor an art movement. Fluxus is a way of doing things, a way of living and dying. "Dick Higgins
"...The cultural project that George Maciunas launched in 1962 was of great revolutionary scope, not only because it made whole the condition of existence of the real possibility of the same esthetic and social revolution at the same time, but above all because it fused with a necessity. He planned not to distinguish any longer between art and live, and to relate them within a practice that historically abandoned for the first time the idea of an individual production to attain the realization that only collective work can produce change, breakthrough, the unstoppable flow of the de- estheticization of artistic production. .. "Antonio d'Avossa
"..This assertion quite evidently does not allow us to conclude that Fluxus is an interrupted journey or, more radically, a burnt-out phase. On the contrary, it leads us to consider, on an appropriate scale, the uniqueness of its platform or – to borrow George Brecht’s expression – the “something unnameable in common” that it allowed us to perceive. And, in a certain sense, it helps us understand that the statement “Fluxus has yet not begun” is not just the umpteenth whimsical declaration destined to confuse ideas but a challenge that continues to be valid.." Sandro Ricaldone
And here's my farewell, with Bob Watts's declaration, absolutely as definitive as the Grand Finale! "...
The most important thing about Fluxus is that nobody knows what it is."