Robert Filliou:
'Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of editions and multiples '

Sat 16 November, 2019 – Sat 1 February, 2020. Madrid


Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of editions and multiples

NoguerasBlanchard is proud to present Dear Skywatcher: an exhibition of editions and multiples 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.