Daniel Spoerri

(b. 1930)

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(1930–  )

Swiss sculptor, Performance artist, designer, writer, publisher, dancer, and choreographer. He was Romanian by birth, but he fled with his family in 1942, after the death of his father, and was adopted by his Swiss uncle, Théophile Spoerri. Between 1950 and 1954 he studied ballet in Zurich and Paris, and from 1955 to 1957 he was principal dancer with the Berne Opera. He also worked in other theatrical roles, notably as a stage designer and choreographer, and from 1957 to 1959 he was assistant director of the Landestheater in Darmstadt. In 1959 he moved to Paris, where he set up a firm called Editions MAT (Multiplication d'Art Transformable) that produced multiples by artists including Alexander Calder, Marcel Duchamp, and Jean Tinguely. Through Tinguely (whom he had known in Switzerland), Spoerri met Yves Klein, and these three were among the founder members of the Nouveau Réalisme group in 1960. In the same year, Spoerri made his first trap picture (‘tableau piège’), consisting of everyday items fixed to a support and hung on a wall. He often collaborated with other artists, and was briefly associated with the Fluxus group. In 1966–7 he lived on the island of Simi, near Rhodes, then moved to Düsseldorf, where he opened the Restaurant Spoerri in 1968. Two years later he founded the Eat Art Gallery in premises above the restaurant and held exhibitions of works made of food by artists including Arman, Joseph Beuys, César, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Such enterprises have won him a reputation as one of the leading showmen in contemporary art.

Further Reading

W. Schmied, Daniel Spoerri: Coincidence as Master (2003)

Subjects: Art.

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