Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of multiples and editions

Robert Filliou

Madrid
Nov 16 - Feb 6, 2020
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He thought of his works as instruments for our apprehension, tools of permanent creation and driving forces of change.

NoguerasBlanchard is proud to present Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of multiples and editions by Robert Filliou, an artist whose influence during the 60’s radically changed the way we viewed art by presenting it as a playful investigation that could take place across any medium, or not take place at all, existing as an unrealized idea. Filliou challenged the status of art as a finished product, bypassing the conventions of the art market in favor of the handmade, evanescent and indeterminate qualities of the continuing artistic process; his productions —named “artistic propositions”— include theatre plays, action-poems, street performances, happenings, object-poems, assemblages, multiples, mail art, books, texts, games, conceptual maps, installations, films and videos.

Taking its name from the title of one of the works in the exhibition, Dear Skywatcher presents a selection of multiples, of which Robert Filliou produced over a hundred during his lifetime, either alone or in collaboration with other artists such as George Brecht, Emmett Williams and Daniel Spoerri. Drawing on Filliou’s own interactive and dialogue based projects and his interest in communication through the act of exchange, NoguerasBlanchard presents a display designed by Paula García-Masedo, suggesting a different approach through devices that invite us to share and experiment the works in the exhibition. These reflections around language and words, communication and exchange can be seen in works such as 7 Childlike Uses of Warlike Material (1971), made in collaboration with Hartmut Kaminski, formed by photographs of ordinary objects-trouvés that can be identified in the texts both as possible war material and at the same time, displaced to imaginary places, such as mountains, the moon and the stars, overriding their capacity to harm and destroy and contributing to “the-art-of-peace”.

Filliou’s ideas and artistic strategies allowed for a critical stance towards both the pretensions of serious culture and economy of consumer capitalism. He thought of his works as instruments for our apprehension, tools of permanent creation and driving forces of change; art was not an end in itself and his propositions applied to everyday life, both social and politically. In the exhibition Dear Skywatcher we can also find echoes of a more passionate Filliou, based on notions of friendship, pity and love, for example, in Poeme Collectif (Robert Filliou et Cie) (1968), an exquisite corpse made in collaboration with Filliou and the public (Filliou et Cie); and other references to the artist’s existentialist character —questioning life, the void, concepts of infinity, zero, origin and time— as in his artwork The Speed of Art (1979), a mathematical function that seeks to overcome the separation between art and life demonstrating their existence in the same framework of time and space.

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Installation

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Selected Works

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Robert Filliou
A Most Curious Invention of the Gaga Yogi

1976

Edition – Wooden box containing nails, topped by a plastic box containing 1 nail

7.4 x 10.6 x 8 cm (2 2932 x 4 532 x 3 532 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Musical Economy nº3

1983

Edition – Colour serigraphy on paper

31 x 44 cm (12 316 x 17 516 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Musical Economy nº2

1983

Edition – Color silkscreen on tracing paper, folded in an envelope

21 x 27.5 cm (8 932 x 10 2732 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Galerie Légitime – Couvre chef(s) d'oeuvre(s)

1969

Edition – Color silkscreen

65 x 88 cm (25 1932 x 34 2132 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Recherche sur l’Origine

1974

Edition – Scroll of offset print on blue graph paper mounted together at each end with a wooden rod, accompanied by a small typed blue (exercise) book in German, housed in a two-part cardboard box

32 x 10 x 9 cm (12 1932 x 3 1516 x 3 1732 inches)

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Robert Filliou
7 Childlike Uses of Warlike Material

1971

Edition – Silkscreened cardboard portfolio with grey gummed canvas gusset containing 7 colour silkscreen prints on paper

55.2 x 75.2 cm (21 2332 x 29 58 inches)

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Robert Filliou
The Speed of Art

1979

Edition – Colour serigraphy on three white note-cards

15 x 21 cm (5 2932 x 8 932 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Petite histoire un peu sainte

1969

Edition – Circular book bound by a brass ring, 96 pages

1 cm (38 inches) ⌀6 cm (⌀2 38 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Hand Show

1967

Edition – 24 black and white silkscreen prints in a wooden box with a serigrafied plexiglass cover

30 x 24.2 x 4 cm (11 1316 x 9 1732 x 1 916 inches)

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Robert Filliou
Dear Skywatcher

1984

Edition – Offset print on paper and collage on cardboard

48 x 32 cm (18 2932 x 12 1932 inches)