Wolf Vostell

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Wolf Vostell, 1980 in Spain

Wolf Vostell (14 October 1932 – 3 April 1998) was a German painter and sculptor and is considered one of the early adopters of video art and environment/installation and pioneer of happening and Fluxus.


  • Art is Life, Life is Art.
    • Original: Kunst ist Leben, Leben ist Kunst.
    • Wolf Vostell (1961), cited in: Cultures, Vol. 5. (1978), p. 142
  • Events are weapons for politicization of art.
    • Original: Ereignisse sind Waffen zur Politisierung der Kunst.
    • Cited in: Hans Heinz Holz (1972). Vom Kunstwerk zur Ware: Studien zur Funktion des ästhetischen Gegenstandes im Spätkapitalismus. p. 204
  • I declare peace the greatest work of art.
    • Original: Ich erkläre den Frieden zum größten Kunstwerk.
    • Wolf Vostell (1980) Wolf Vostell : de-collagen; Verwischungen. p. 23

Quotes about Wolf Vostell[edit]

  • The boundaries between the reflection and that which is reflected no longer exist: "art is life, life is art" said Wolf Vostell. Men's physical action, the handling of things is already considered to be art. What happens, the "happening", is already art if only one wants it to be and one affirms it.
    If art is life, life is art, the work of art no longer needs an envelope or frame. Art steps out of its frame, melts immediately into the life stream and only the subjective will of the individual tries to suggest or arrange that anything pertaining to this life stream becomes art, if one fixes it simply and one detaches it from its customary connections and relations.
    • Cultures, Vol. 5. (1978), p. 142
  • The spatial forms of TV sets were already used by Fluxus artists such as Wolf Vostell before the birth of video art. In his first TV De-coll/age, created in 1958, Vostell placed six television monitors in a wooden box behind a white canvas, which was slashed open with a knife. Tellingly, he declared the TV set to be "the sculpture of the twentieth century."... Rush concludes that both Vostell and Paik recontextualized the monitor, thus inaugurating a new way of viewing this small screen divorced from the familiar, commercial locus of the home...
    • Helen Westgeest. Video Art Theory: A Comparative Approach. p. 87

External links[edit]

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