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Manifesto by Georges Maciunas, Festum Fluxorum Fluxus , Düsseldorf, February 1963

Fluxus (from Latin flūxus 'flow', to fluo 'flow, pass away') is an art movement founded by George Maciunas in which it is not the work of art that matters, but the creative idea. Fluxus became widely known in the 1960s. After Dadaism , Fluxus was the second elementary attack on the work of art in the conventional sense, which was negated and was considered a bourgeois fetish .

Fluxus was significantly influenced by well - known avant - garde artists . In addition to George Maciunas, these include Bazon Brock , John Cage , George Brecht , Mary Bauermeister , Wolf Vostell , Arthur Køpcke , Benjamin Patterson , Emmett Williams , Dick Higgins , Ludwig Gosewitz , Alison Knowles , Yoko Ono , Robin Page , Tomas Schmit , Ben Vautier , Robert Filliou , Joseph Beuys , Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman .


The term Fluxus was first used in 1960 as the title of a magazine that the Lithuanian / American artist George Maciunas wanted to publish together with the Lithuanian gallery owner Almus Salcius. Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt writes:

“Whichever terminology Maciunas chose, it ultimately served to distinguish Fluxus from Happening in order to create something like its own artistic identity. This differentiation was also worked out on the basis of the various strands of tradition. While the happening goes back to the baroque ballet of the court at Versailles, Fluxus develops vaudeville , gags , Dada and Japanese haikus further. "

Fluxus was at the same time a form of action art, a movement among artists against elitist high art, and the attempt to create new collective forms of life (compare Hans Belting, The invisible masterpiece ).

Fluxus is explained by a flowing transition between art and life or the unity of art and life: “It's about production processes that affect life and not about isolating art from life.” “Life is a work of art, and the work of art is life. "(Emmett Williams)

Fluxus as action art is an attitude towards the course of time and the use of media that is influenced by the musical concepts of John Cage (mainly circulated through his lectures at the New School in New York City ) and by Zen, which relies on simple repeatability instead of producing outstanding one-off effects want. Fluxus integrates video, music, light, sounds, movement, actions and various materials. Another difference to the happening is the separation between artist and audience. Some artists participated in both directions of action art without strictly distinguishing between their various characteristics.

Origin and Art Movement

After the Fluxus movement was founded in New York in 1961 by George Maciunas as a project for an art newspaper, the art movement established itself in Germany with the Wiesbaden Festival of New Music a year later through Maciunas.

Artistic directness in every medium is typical of Fluxus. The Fluxus publication How We Met: Or A Microdemystification describes how the individual artists first met. The description is at the same time the implementation of a typical Fluxus concept by George Brecht for the 16th edition of AQ magazine from AQ-Verlag and an art-historical self-definition. The magazine consists of information and materials on the first meetings between Ay-O , Ben Vautier, George Brecht, Robert Filliou, Dick Higgins, Joe Jones , George Maciunas, Takako Saito , Mieko Shiomi , Daniel Spoerri , Robert Watts , Emmett Williams, mentioned but also encounters with many other well-known artists and musicians in the area of ​​Fluxus.

Often Fluxus is characterized by events composed like collages , which are called “concerts” because acoustic, choreographic and musical forms of expression flow into it. Examples of this are the actions Celtic or Eurasienstab by Joseph Beuys and Henning Christiansen , in which music, productions (theater), installations and films were presented in the sense of a total work of art . The Fluxus artists defended themselves against any art theoretical definition and brought out many manifestos, poems and writings, including in the publishing house Something Else Press (1964–1974) founded by Dick Higgins in 1964 .

Fluxus in Germany

In addition to artists such as Tomas Schmit and Chris Reinecke as well as the Americans George Maciunas, Al Hansen , Dick Higgins and George Brecht, it was above all Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik , Wolf Vostell and Dieter Roth who developed Fluxus' own artistic position in Germany . While Beuys demanded the audience's spiritual and meditative concentration in his individual actions in order to advance to an intensive form of existential research, Roth addressed the creative process of inventing form or things as well as the concrete change in works of art in "ironic-speculative graphics and objects Food (chocolate) due to mold ”. At the Festum Fluxorum Fluxus , Wolf Vostell used carbon tetrachloride to smear images in various magazines, creating smudges with the title Kleenex .

The Fluxus concerts offered no tonal or instrumental balance, but were sound experiences in which every object could become an instrument. Wolf Vostell hurled 200 light bulbs against a plexiglass wall that acted as a barrier between the stage and the audience, smashed war toys with a hammer and stuck pins into raw meat in order to achieve an individual sound combination and to make a statement on current affairs. Joseph Beuys worked with fat , felt and margarine . The alienation of consumer goods was often understood as wasteful and insulted.

The artistic and cultural atmosphere in Cologne in the 1960s and the meeting of artist personalities who wanted to depict life in all its facets in living works of art resulted in a unique combination. The intention of the Fluxus concerts was to present a living overall picture of society, to reflect it without compromise and to expand the audience's expectations and perspectives. The provocative aspects and attacks on traditional values ​​of the economic miracle polarized the audience. Fluxus should have a sociological and psychological effect on society and be an element of communication.

The complexity of the actions and Fluxus concerts, the interaction of different artists such as Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman, created coordinated interpretations. The distinction between happenings and fluxus is sometimes difficult to make. Happenings followed the principle of involving the audience, although they were often not given precise information about the course. An improvisation developed at the happening as well as at the Fluxus. The unique attributes of the Fluxus concerts and happenings and the freedom in the arrangements are socio-political events.

In the last years of his life, the artist Christoph Schlingensief created several Fluxus works with international recognition , including his Fluxus oratorio A Church of Fear of the Stranger in Me .

Well-known Fluxus museums in Germany are the Fluxeum and the Fluxus Plus Museum .

Fluxus in France

While in Germany Fluxus was mainly present in Düsseldorf , Cologne and Wiesbaden , in France Fluxus developed mainly in Paris and in Nice around Ben Vautier . The first Fluxus Festival Vautiers there took place in the Hotel Scribe under the title Fluxus Festival of Total Art from July 25 to August 3, 1963.


The first official Fluxus manifestation took place from September 1 to 23, 1962 in the lecture hall of the Museum Wiesbaden under the title FLUXUS: International Festival of New Music . 14 concerts by Higgins, Beuys, Knowles, Vostell, Paik, Williams, Køpcke, Filliou, Maciunas. Important events of the European Fluxus movement took place in 1962 in Cologne , Wuppertal , Wiesbaden , Copenhagen , Paris and in 1963 in Amsterdam , The Hague , London , Nice and Düsseldorf .

The Festum Fluxorum Fluxus was an international Fluxus festival at the Staatliche Kunstakademie Düsseldorf , which took place from February 2 to 3, 1963 and was the fourth stop on an international Fluxus tour designed by Maciunas after Wiesbaden, Copenhagen and Paris. It was organized personally on site by Joseph Beuys in consultation with George Maciunas and Nam June Paik. Participating artists included Dick Higgins, Bengt af Klintberg , Alison Knowles , Arthur Køpcke, Staffan Olzon, Nam June Paik, George Maciunas, Jackson Mac Low , Benjamin Patterson, Tomas Schmit, Daniel Spoerri , Wolf Vostell, Frank Trowbridge, Emmett Williams and Joseph Beuys.

From September 1 to 23, 1962, the Fluxus International Festival of New Music took place in the Wiesbaden Museum . The concerts, which were performed over four weekends with mostly two programs in the lecture hall of the - at that time still municipal - museum, mark the birth of the Fluxus movement, which appeared here for the first time publicly under this name.

The first part of the exhibition Fluxus at 50 , from March 2 to June 24, 2012, was dedicated to the International Festival in the lecture hall of the Wiesbaden Museum and the Fluxus artists involved in them. In addition to the listed pieces, selected works by those involved were presented in a labyrinthine passage. The second part of the exhibition presented the artists who joined the group after the Wiesbaden Festival with important works.


  • Jürgen Becker and Wolf Vostell (eds.): Happenings, Fluxus, Pop Art, Nouveau Réalisme . A documentation. Rowohlt Verlag, Reinbek 1965.
  • Happening & Fluxus . Materials compiled by Hans Sohm, Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1970.
  • Rainer K. Wick , On the Sociology of Intermediate Art Practice. Happenings, fluxus, promotions. Self-published, Cologne 1975.
  • Harry Ruhé, Fluxus, The most radical and experimental art movement of the sixties , Verlag A, Amsterdam, 1979.
  • John Hendricks, Fluxus Codex . Harry N. Abrams, New York, 1988, ISBN 978-0-8109-0920-5 .
  • Ubi Fluxus ibi motus 1990-1962 . Edizioni Mazotta, Fondazione Mudima, Milano 1990, ISBN 88-202-0958-6 .
  • Do you want total life? Fluxus and agit-pop of the 60s in Aachen . Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen, 1995, ISBN 3-929261-24-3 .
  • René Block , Gabriele Knapstein (concept): A long history with many knots. Fluxus in Germany. 1962-1994. Institute for Foreign Relations , Stuttgart 1995.
  • Fluxus y Di Maggio , Museo Vostell Malpartida, Consejería de Cultura y Patrimonio de Extremadura, 1998, ISBN 84-7671-446-7 .
  • Kurt Holl and Claudia Glunz (eds.): 1968 on the Rhine - Satisfaction and resting traffic . Schmidt von Schwind, Cologne 1998, ISBN 3-932050-11-8 .
  • Owen Smith, Fluxus: The History of an Attitude . San Diego State University Press, San Diego, California, 1998.
  • Mr. Fluxus: A Collective Portrait of George Maciunas 1931-1978 . Thames & Hudson, 1998, ISBN 0-500-97461-6 .
  • Petra Stegmann (Ed.): Fluxus East. Fluxus networks in Central Eastern Europe. Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe. Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-932754-87-6 .
  • Karsten Arnold, Günter Herzog u. a .: sediment. Announcements on the history of the art trade / Wolf Vostell. in the streets and squares through the galleries: messages on the history of the art trade. ZADIK : Issue 14/2007. Verlag für Moderne Kunst, Nuremberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-939738-61-9 .
  • Susanne Anna (Ed.): Joseph Beuys, Düsseldorf. Hatje Cantz, Ostfildern 2008, ISBN 978-3-7757-1992-6 .
  • Fluxus Nice . Fleurice Würz, AQ-Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-922441-11-3 .
  • Jacquelynn Baas, Ken Friedman, Fluxus and the Essential Questions of Life . University of Chicago Press and Hood Museum of Art, 2011. ISBN 978-0-226-03359-4 .
  • Never again trouble-free! Aachen Avantgarde since 1964 , Kerber Verlag, 2011, ISBN 978-3-86678-602-8 .
  • Fiat flux: la nébuleuse Fluxus, 1962-1978 , Musée d'art moderne Saint-Étienne métropole, Silvana Editoriale, Milan, 2012.
  • Fluxus at 50 . Stefan Fricke, Alexander Klar, Sarah Maske, Kerber Verlag, 2012, ISBN 978-3-86678-700-1 .
  • Fluxus! 50 years of Fluxus . Werner Esser, Steffen Engle, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, 2012. ISBN 978-3-86442-032-0 .
  • Petra Stegmann. The lunatics are on the loose… European Fluxus Festivals 1962-1977 , Down with art! Potsdam, 2012, ISBN 978-3-9815579-0-9 .
  • Kurt Wettengl (Ed.): Fluxus - Art for ALL. The Feelisch Collection. Kehrer, Heidelberg / Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86828-449-2 .
  • Kurt Wettengl (Ed.): Fluxus - Art for ALL. The Braun / Lieff Collection. Kehrer, Heidelberg / Berlin 2013, ISBN 978-3-86828-442-3 .
  • Beuys Brock Vostell. Action demonstration participation 1949-1983 . ZKM - Center for Art and Media Technology, Hatje Cantz, Karlsruhe, 2014, ISBN 978-3-7757-3864-4 .


  • Fluxus . VHS with 41 original Fluxus films by Paik, Ono, Vostell, Sharits and others. a. as well as a 32-page booklet (English / French) about Fluxfilme by Maeva Aubert, available from: http://www.re-voir.com/html/fluxus.htm
  • National Museums in Berlin (ed.): Joseph Beuys: Eurasienstab. Berlin 2005; with DVD (Steidl Verlag) ISBN 3-86521-194-1 .
  • neoFLuX - Resumption and Transfer of Flux - 17 neoFLuX films
  • Traveling (in) to Fluxus ... by Irene Di Maggio, 2014.
  • Malpartida Fluxus Village by Maria Pérez, 2015.


  • Experimental theater - fluxus - happening - performance . Sony BMG, 2004.

See also

Web links

50 years of Fluxus

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Karl Ernst Georges, Comprehensive Latin-German Concise Dictionary I , 8th edition, Hanover 1913, col. 2804
  2. Uwe M. Schneede : The history of art in the 20th century , CH Beck, Munich 2001, ISBN 3-406-48197-3 , p. 209.
  3. George (Yurgis) Maciunas (1931–1978)
  4. Thomas Kellein : FLUXUS . Kunsthalle Basel, Edition Hansjörg Mayer (catalog for the exhibition from August 21 to October 31, 1994), Basel 1994, p. 21.
  5. Astrit Schmidt-Burkhardt: Family trees of art: To the genealogy of the avant-garde . Akademie Verlag, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-05-004066-1 , Fluxus in the river of time, p. 374.1 ( online ).
  6. Hans Belting: The invisible masterpiece: The modern myths of art . CH Beck, 2001, ISBN 3-406-48177-9 , pp. 455, 2 + 455.3 ( online ).
  7. medienkunstnetz.de
  8. kunstwissen.de ( Memento from January 8, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  9. Silke Paull, Hervé Würz (ed.): How We Met: Or A Microdemystification, AQ 16. S. 8.
  10. ^ Editing for Art in the Bibliographical Institute (ed.): Meyers Kleines Lexikon. Art . Meyers Lexikonverlag, Mannheim / Vienna / Zurich 1986, ISBN 3-411-02655-3 .
  11. a b c Richard W. Gassen, Roland Scotti (Ed.): From Pop to Polit. Art of the 1960s in the Federal Republic . Wilhelm Hack Museum January 13 to March 3, 1996; Wilhelm-Fabry-Museum der Stadt Hilden March 24 to June 9, 1969, p. 65.
  12. Silke Paull, Hervé Würz (Ed.): How We Met: Or A Microdemystification, AQ 16.
  13. Silke Paull, Hervé Würz (Ed.): How We Met: Or A Microdemystification, AQ 16. S. 11.1.
  14. a b 1962–1982. Illustrated chronology. In: René Block (Vorw.): 1962 Wiesbaden FLUXUS 1982. A short story of Fluxus in three parts . Harlequin Art, Berlin artist program of the DAAD, Wiesbaden / Kassel / Berlin 1983, pp. 10, 14, 18, 26.
  15. Vostell. Retrospective 1958–1974. New Berliner Kunstverein e. V. in collaboration with the Nationalgalerie Berlin, Staatliche Museen Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin 1975, pp. 110–111.
  16. An example of this is the examination of Western consumer culture of the 1960s, which was thematized on October 11, 1963 at the action and exhibition Living with Pop - a demonstration for capitalist realism in the Düsseldorf furniture store Berges .
  17. Documentation about Fluxus in Nice (in French)
  18. ^ Exhibition Fluxus at 50
  19. neofluxfilm.com
  20. Homepage of Traveling (in) to Fluxus ...
  21. Homepage of Malpartida Fluxus Village