Profil: Daniel Spoerri

Daniel Spoerri

He is born in Galati, Romania on March 27 1930. In 1942 after his father’s death, he moves to Switzerland with his family, his mother’s native country. He takes his mother’s surname and is granted Swiss citizenship. In 1959 with Jean Tinguely he realizes ‘Autotheatre’, where “the audience becomes actor and public”, at Hessenhuis in Antwerp. He decides to settle down in Paris to plan Edition MAT (Multiplication d’Art Transformable) with a strong wish to rid the artistic product of its unique nature through the mass reproduction in multiples so that as many people as possible can enjoy the artistic work and the underlying creative process. Several artists join MAT, such as Agam, Albers, Arp, Bury, Christo, Duchamp, Gerstner, Man Ray, Rainer, Roth, Saint-Phalle, Soto, Tinguely, Vasarely and others. In the same year he makes his first Tableaux-Pièges (trap pictures). In 1960 Tinguely introduces Spoerri to Yves Klein; he signs the constitutive declaration of Nouveau Réalisme and participates in all the manifestations of the group. Trap pictures are exhibited for the first time at Festival d’Art d’Avant-garde, Porte de Versailles, Paris. In 1963 exhibition 723 utensiles de cuisine takes place at Gallery J, which is turned into a restaurant in the evenings: Aux fourneaux le chef Spoerri ‘Daniel’: Les critiques d’art assurent le service. Every dinner is matched by ‘menù-pièges’ consisting of remains left by table companions. For the rest of the year contacts with Fluxus take place. In 1970 he displays objects made in dough, at Gallery Al Vecchio Pastificio, Cavigliano, Switzerland. There is a long series of personal exhibitions by Lindner, Beuys, Ben, Niki de Saint-Phalle, Arman (accumulations of sausages, shrimps, cooked in jelly), César (compression of bonbons coated with chocolate) and Claude & Francois Lalanne present ‘Le diner cannibale’. Artworks are made by artists in personally selected materials and once they have been devoured, a signed certificate is issued to prove every specific artwork really existed. In Milan, on the tenth anniversary of Nouveau Réalisme, Spoerri prepares ‘The Last Supper, Funeral Banquet of Nouveau Réalisme’ and prepares, on Raymond Hains’s request, a ‘Torte de Milan, Entremets de la Palissade’, decorated with a thousand candles and cut by guest Professor Caramel. One year later in Amsterdam Spoerri realizes a series of 13 pictures, where shoes for children are caught in mouse traps. This series is entitled ‘Les Dangers de la Multiplication’. In 1983 the artist organizes at Centre Culturel du Montcel, Jouy-en-Josas, ‘Déjeuner sous l’Herbe’ (Breakfast under the Grass): the 40 metres long ‘tableau piège’ of a banquet is laid underground. At Mirabellengertens in Salzburg, with the help of students of the Internationale Sommerakademie, he creates a labyrinth-intestinal route where visitors become part of the food which is chewed and finally discharged. One year later, still supported by students, he organizes a gustatory route through Munich’s ateliers. In Rome he realizes the series in bronze known as ‘Warriors of the Night’. In 1990 Centre Georges Pompidou organizes the biggest retrospective of his production, which is also displayed later in Austria, Germany and Switzerland.