Ben Vautier, also known simply as Ben[1] (born 18 July 1935 in Naples, Italy), is a French artist. Vautier lives and works in Nice, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973.

Ben Vautier
Benjamin Vautier in 2013
Benjamin Vautier

18 July 1935 (1935-07-18) (age 87)
Naples, Italy
Known forLettrism, Performance art
MovementFluxus, zero


Benjamin Vautier was born on 18 July 1935 in Naples, Italy to a French family. He is the great-grandson of the Swiss painter Marc Louis Benjamin Vautier [fr] (1829-1898).

He discovered Yves Klein and the Nouveau Réalisme in the 1950s, but he became quickly interested in the French dada artist Marcel Duchamp and the music of John Cage. In 1959, Vautier founded the journal Ben Dieu.[2] In 1960, he had his first one-man show, Rien et tout in Laboratoire 32.

Ben joined George Maciunas in the Fluxus artistic movement,[3] in October 1962.

He is also active in Mail-Art and is mostly known for his text-based paintings or écritures began in 1953, with his work Il faut manger. Il faut dormir. Another example of the latter is "L'art est inutile. Rentrez chez vous" (Art is Useless, Go Home). A notable work made for Harald Szeemann's Documenta 5 exhibition in 1972 shouts, “KUNST IST ÜBERFLÜSSIG” (English: Art is Superfluous), and was installed across the top of the Fridericianum museum in Kassel, Germany.[4]

He has long defended the rights of minorities in all countries, and he has been influenced by the theories of François Fontan about ethnism. For example, he has defended the Occitan language (southern France).

In 1981, he coined the name of the French art movement of the 1980s Figuration Libre (Free Figuration).

His work is included in some of the most important collections in the world, including MOMA in New York[5] or Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid.[6] The Centre Pompidou in Paris has Ben Vautier's Magasin, a massive piece, on permanent display.[7] In 2022 the MUAC in Mexico City organized one of the most ambitious exhibitions about Vautier, curated by Ferran Barenblit.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Russell, John (1982-02-12). "Art: Return of the Once Despised 'Belle-Peinture'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  2. ^ "Reissue of Ben Dieu (1963)". Archived from the original on 2002-04-29. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  3. ^ Glueck, Grace (1983-02-13). "Gallery View; Some Roguish 60's Art Achieves Museum Status". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  4. ^ "Retrospective: documenta". documenta 5. Archived from the original on 2015-08-28. Retrieved 2021-09-14.
  5. ^ "Ben Vautier | MoMA". The Museum of Modern Art. Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  6. ^ "Ben (Benjamin Vautier) - Regardez-moi, cela suffit (Miradme, con eso me basta)". (in Spanish). Retrieved 2022-11-09.
  7. ^ Centre George Pompidou. "Le Magasin Ben Vautier".

Internal linkEdit

Official websiteEdit