Fluxus is an international art movement that started around 1960 in New York and Tokyo and simultaneously in the European cities Wiesbaden, Wuppertal, Copenhagen, Paris, Düsseldorf, Amsterdam, the Hague, London and Nice.
George Maciunas (1931-1978), an American artist of Lithuanian origin who coined the name “Fluxus”, is considered the movement’s founder. Originally the name of his art magazine project, it was used to describe the concerts, festivals, publications and multiples initiated by him worldwide. “Fluxus” is a Latin word meaning “flowing”. Applied to the art movement, it describes a transition in which art flows into everyday life, and also refers to the impermanence of all objects.
The artists who practiced Fluxus over the years all worked on the fringes of music, fine art, literature and theatre, usually staging events deliberately bringing together very different areas of life. A divide between artist and audience was obligatory. The protagonists sometimes addressed political issues through their choice of subject matter - events like the Cuba Crisis, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King appear in their art, as do the Cold War in Europe, the division of Germany and the rise of the consumer society.
The way that Fluxus art transcended genres makes the artworks very diverse and divergent.
Some are the remains and traces of staged events never intended for a museum or exhibition context but represented here in the museum by smashed musical instruments, documents or paper flyers. However, the display also includes spoons, rubber stamps, cardboard sculptures and musical scores that were intentionally created as artworks in the usual sense. Audio and visual recordings of historical events provide an insight into bygone manifestations of this artform, often highly controversial at the time.
To make the diversity of Fluxus art more comprehensible to the viewer, the exhibition is largely composed of thematic groups. There are areas focusing on music/instruments, everyday objects in art and Fluxus concerts, to name but a few. The groupings are intended to make it easier for viewers to understand the different artistic statements.
There are, however, many challenges for those interested in the subject. Today, fleeting events, humorous investigations of thought and perception patterns and the hidden poetry of everyday events and objects remain the essence of Fluxus.