• gerard van weyenbergh

End of the Avant-Garde from the 60's, 2/3

"To fill the gap which is between art and life" (Rauschenberg)

If the historical avant-gardes had envisaged life contamination by art, it would be with the life to infiltrate art in this second half of the twentieth century.

And it is to a handful of English artists, including Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi, that it returns to open the pop ball on the threshold of the 1950s, laying the foundations of grammar and imagery whose generations current have not finished satiating. Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Roy Lichtenstein,Claes Oldenburg, Richard Hamilton, Allen Jones or Martial Raysse grasp the codes of modern society. They divert them sovereignly, with force of color, reproducibility , seduction, reestablishing the field of art in everyday life, without any real ideological offensive. Thus, for representation, Pop Art substitutes the raw and everyday materiality of reality. However, suppose he replaces the artistic purpose in the real. In that case, it infiltrates the territory of art much more than it imposes itself in a clear and vehement break with a generation apparently frozen by its triumph, its formalism, but whose renewed and critical experiments (Robert Ryman, Brice Marden, Frank Stella) appear alongside the surge of pop. If the latter sounds like a sparkling response to the reign of abstraction, especially in the United States, it is a complex cohabitation that is established. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg testify to this, whose powerful proposals unite as much as they criticize the dominant artistic territories.

The New Realists

Simultaneously, in France, the demand for reconciliation or reappropriation of reality through art becomes more pressing. On October 27, 1960, Arman, François Dufrêne, Yves Klein, Jacques Mahé de la Villeglé, Martial Raysse, Daniel Spoerri, Jean Tinguely, Raymond Hains, gathered around and Pierre Restany, declared: "The new realists have become aware of their singularity collective.

New Realism = new perceptual approaches to reality. "Associated in a field with nebulous contours around the attraction of reality, the new realists and pop artists remain nonetheless dissimilar. In Duchamp and Dada's shadow, the New Realists update the principle of the ready-made by adding fiery energy to it, recognizing the city and technology as a source of creation. Recovered objects, rubbish, industrial waste, and scraps from consumer society essentially constitute Arman, Spoerri, or Tinguely's vocabulary.

Chance and provocation made their entry there, soon becoming the ordering principle. The work of art now challenges its permanence, doubts itself, and appropriates reality. Assemblies, disintegrations, diversions, detachments of posters bring the work back into the field of anonymity, of the present time, and into the bosom of reality.

Widening the field of possibilities

Despite the brevity of its existence (four years), the Fluxus group, created in 1961 by George Maciunas, shakes up with as much radicalism as excess the standards dictating the modalities of creation. The Fluxus group tries to define the relationship between the work, the public, and the artist differently. Disrupting the whole by the emergence of action - which violently breaks with the contemplative nature of the relationship to the work -, mixing scholarly and popular cultures, such as the program shared between these few tutelary figures, Nam June Paik, Robert Filliou or Joseph Beuys, utopian pioneers and iconoclasts of an art returned to the public and withdrawn absolutely (at least initially) from the art market, towards a practice that atomizes the limits of the museum and the exhibition. An idea, a scene, converted into action, ephemeral in essence, fixed by photography, exhibited in a museum, such are the procedures dictating this new way of making, showing and receiving the work of art, reshaping the work of art in a lasting way. territory of creation. The practice of happening, of performance exploded in the 1960s, in the wake of John Cage and Allan Kaprow.

© Manou Farine for " le Journal des arts"