Daniel Spoerri, Erst letzt das erste, 1955, 1984, Silkscreen on cloth, 188 × 72 cm, Edition of 38
Courtesy of Archivio Conz, Berlin
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  • Silkscreen on cloth
  • 188 × 72 cm
    (74 × 28 ⅜ inches)
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  • Daniel Spoerri is a Swiss-Romanian avant-garde artist, a member of Nouveau Réalisme, and a promoter of Eat Art. With his works, he has created modern-era Wunderkammers, in which ordinary objects are encapsulated and preserved in time and space. Born Daniel Feinstein, at the outbreak of World War II, he was forced to flee to Switzerland, adopting his uncle’s surname. In the 1950s, he completed his dance studies between Bern and Paris, becoming danseur-étoile at the Stadttheater Bern. Throughout his life, Spoerri has worked invarious professions: as a fruit salesman, tour guide, choreographer, and restaurateur. Between 1957 and 1959, he was assistant director of the Staatstheater Darmstadt, while at the same time collaborating with Emmett Williams for the literary magazine Material. He later moved to Paris, where he founded Editions MAT (Multiplication d’Art Transformable), based on the serial reproduction of works by prominent artists, including Marcel Duchamp. The core themes of Spoerri’s works emerged as early as the 1960s, proposing an ontological challenge to the nature of art and its inclusion in everyday gestures. At Galerie Köpcke (1961) in Copenhagen, jars of foodstuffs stamped “Attention Oeuvre d’Art Daniel Spoerri” were sold at their regular supermarket price. Later, he turned galleries into restaurants and art critics into waiters, as in Restaurant de la Galerie J (1963). Connecting art and food under the heading of Eat Art, he founded a restaurant in Dusseldorf in 1968. Prominent among Spoerri’s experiments is the creation of tableaux pièges or “snare pictures,” comprised of used napkins, empty bottles, dirty plates and coffee cups, and overfilled ashtrays: allusive remnants that are left on a table at the end of a meal. The infamous Topographie anecdotée du hasard (Editions Galerie Lawrence, 1962) is the literary analogue of his snare pictures and consists of a detailed description, an inventory of objects on his working table. Spoerri taught at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts from 1983 to 1989. In 1997, he began to work on Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri, a sculpture-park project in southern Tuscany, with artworks by fifty-five international artists. Since the beginning of his career, Spoerri’s works have been exhibited worldwide in prominent venues. He has been awarded numerous honors, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris has held two retrospectives (1972 and 1990). Recent exhibitions include those at the Museum Tinguely in Basel (2001), the Museum of Natural History in Vienna (2012), and the Musée Les Abattoirs (2017).

Artworks (9)