Fluxus East

Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe

Robert Filliou

1926, born in Sauve, France
1987, died in the Dordogne

After the end of the war, Robert Filliou emigrated to the USA, where he studied economics at the University of California in Los Angeles. After 1954, he first lived as an author in Japan, Egypt, Spain and Denmark. He returned to France in 1959, and around this time, he wrote his first action poems and longer plays; his first visual text collages followed a year later. In 1961, he presented his works in the Copenhagen gallery run by Arthur Köpcke. In January 1962, Filliou founded his own Galerie Légitime, consisting of a cap, with which he participated at the London Festival of Misfits at the end of 1962. There he met with many artists from the Fluxus circle. Subsequently, he took part in numerous Fluxus festivals and joint works together with Fluxus artists, particularly with Emmett Williams – the two were co-inventors of the Spaghetti-Sandwich – and George Brecht. Together with Brecht, Filliou ran the shop La cédille qui souri in Villefranche-sur-Mer from 1965 to 1968, where artworks were sold alongside games. This shop developed into an international centre for permanent creation: art was combined with the everyday, and the equality of all creative products was declared. It was also in this period that Filliou formulated his principles for a poetic economy. He presented the concepts developed from this, Equivalence and Permanent Creation, at documenta 5 in Kassel (1972). In 1974, he was a guest of the DAAD in Berlin. An exhibition of his Poipoidrome, designed together with Joachim Pfeufer, took place in the Budapest Club of Young Artists in 1976. In addition, Filliou corresponded with the Warsaw Galeria Foksal about an exhibition, but it was never realised.

The films that he made in the 1960s were followed, as from 1977, by a series of video works. In 1980, Filliou worked as a guest professor at the College of Fine Arts in Hamburg. In 1982, he was the first to receive the city of Hanover’s Kurt Schwitters Prize. In 1984, Filliou withdrew to a Buddhist monastery in the Dordogne, where he died in 1987.

site info DE | EN