Life is a joyous shambles
Ben Vautier, alias Ben, is an iconic figure on the contemporary art scene on the Riviera. A pioneer of the Fluxus movement in the South of France in the 1960s, he questioned the limits to art with irreverence and irony. He has turned his house in the Saint-Pancras district of Nice into one gigantic artwork, decked from floor to ceiling and ground to roof with salvaged objects and his handwriting. Because to him, “l’art, c’est la vie”. His aphorisms, written in a round hand in white on black, are a familiar feature of the tram shelters in Nice. He has also left a message for motorists at Place Toselli roundabout in Nice: “L’art tourne en rond” (‘art goes round in circles’). As if to remind us that there’s nothing new under the sun. He did our collectible issue covers in 2010 and 2017 and is back for this 35th-anniversary issue. Ben currently has a 2500m2 retrospective at the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City, until 2 April 2023. Under the title of Death Isn’t Real, the exhibition shows his actions, text artworks and assemblages on the key themes of his work, the ego and ethnocentrism.
By Tanja Stojanov