|Headline Haiku 2006
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|Fluxus Vision: Visual Poems
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A couple of outstanding samples are shown below. Be sure to visit the International Museum of Collage, Assemblage and Construction too!
Cecil Touchon explores the boundaries between art and poetry in these elegant and intimate papiers collages composed of bits of lettering and the empty spaces between them. Stripped of literary meaning, these works rely on composition, rhythm and visual movement to convey their meaning which is ambiguous and intuitive. These works are constructed from distressed street posters that have been carefully edited into inlayed bits of printed matter creating passages that move from figure to ground and then reverse back to figure through gentle curves, irregular grids and subtle shading techniques. Snippets of lettering almost become recognizable letters or perhap proposals for a new poetic alphabet but always slip back into forms and spaces creating enigmatic and open, simultaneously plausible interpretations.
The Fluxlist Blog is a continuing Fluxus project. The Blog serves as a rich media extension of the Fluxlist itself, which was launched in 1996 by Allen Bukoff, Ken Friedman, Dick Higgins, Joe De Marco, Jon Van Oast, as an online forum for artists, writers, and other with an interest in Fluxus.
by Matthew Rose
In April, 1990 I had the first of three meetings with Ray Johnson, each on Long Island, and this first one at my house. He would visit me, he said, at 5 PM. On the dot. And he was there. On time. We talked in my kitchen drinking black coffee and moving through dozens of subjects from synchronicity to Joseph Cornell, to my problem with bees (they were living in the crook of my window) to the double Elvis prints Warhol did and Ray said were given to him, but were at that time hanging in the Larry Gagosian Gallery.
Fluxus has been associated with humor since its inception. In fact one of the features that differentiates Fluxus from many other art forms is what could be termed, its "fun factor". As has been said elsewhere, "if it isn't fun; it isn't Fluxus". This feature of Fluxus works has sometimes led to the art and artists associated with Fluxus to be dismissed as "not serious". But as every humorist knows very well, humor can also be serious. Fluxus tends to poke fun at the kind of art that takes itself too seriously.
Recently, a graduate student named Claire posted some questions about Fluxus to the Fluxlist. Allen Bukoff, an artist who has been active in Fluxus for many years, and is one of the founding members of the Fluxlist, has posted a very interesting answer to her questions, which I am including in full here on The Fluxus Blog.
In a previous post I talked about Visual Poetry as being "poetry for the eyes". Fluxus, being Intermedia, is all about the spaces in which different media intersect, so audio art, sound art, and noise recording, can be described as "art for the ears". In the late 20th century many artists trained in traditional visual theory and technique began to expand their artistic practice into the aural sphere. The most common audible art is familiar to most people in the form of the "sound track" to a video. When artists began producing motion picture art, whether in "high-tech" films, or using "low-tech" video cameras, sound was often incorporated to accompany the visual elements. This work is commonly referred to as being "multimedia". But at around the same time as some artists were producing art videos without sound, other artists began producing art audios without video imagery. This audio art has become in effect a new type of "visual" art, although it is invisible to the eyes.
Albert Einstein once said, "if you can't explain it simply, you probably don't understand it well enough". Somebody else once told me that whatever it is that you need to describe, you should be able to describe on an elevator ride. So, what is the simple, "elevator description" of Fluxus? Hmmm...
Poetry has historically been associated with the physical sense of hearing. It has been thought of as an auditory art, unlike painting or drawing which have always been thought of as visual arts. Poetic texts were therefore seen as signs representing sounds, thus a poems rhythm was very important, and until recently most Western poems also tended to rhyme. In the 2oth century artists, writers, and poets for the first time took notice that while poems might have been meant to be read aloud, they never-the-less existed primarily as text typed or written on a printed page. In fact, poems could be seen primarily as text drawings or drawings using text as the page-marking medium. The first artists to widely exploit this idea were the Dada group following the first world war. One group led by Tristan Tzara explored the boundaries of poetry using text to represent sounds by playing with syllabic sensations and pseudomeaning in their work. Another group of Dada artists began to experiment with poetry as a form of visual expression, first within the confines of graphic design with poster and broadsheet designs, but eventually artists like Kurt Schwitters began using text purely for its visual qualities.
The creation of any work of art is a semiotic exercise.
The study of semiotics is concerned with the use of signs and signifiers, primarily as they are used in language and linguistics, but also in other forms of communication including visual art. Historically, artists have been concerned with how best to represent the way people in the artists' culture experience reality. Artists throughout history have struggled with the problem of representation. They developed rendering techniques like perspective drawing and shading. They developed new techniques to render color with pigments suspended in various binders and eventually gained portability with oil paints in tubes and water colors in small blocks. Artist also began to incorporate different symbologies and to incorporate the prevailing cultural iconography into there artworks, as they struggled to move beyond pure visual representation into religious and later emotional representation. Eventually artists became so competent at representing prevailing cultural realities that they began to rebel and to attempt to represent their own individual perceptions of reality. This development coincided with the technology of portability using oil paint tubes, and so was born Impressionism. More inward looking artists began experimenting with cubism not long after this.
Back in April of 2005 I wrote an article about one my young Fluxus colleagues, Crispin Webb. Crispin died suddenly in his sleep on November 23, 2006, a few days before his 29th birthday. Crispin was very active in the contemporary Fluxus community, and had already had several exhibitions of his work before his premature death. He was just finishing up his MFA degree from Bard College in New York and Ohio State University.