Alison Knowles


20 Sep 24 — 26 Jan 25

Hartmut Rekort (Photograph) / Dick Higgins (Artist, Performer) / Alison Knowles (Performerin), Danger Music. Fluxus-Internationale Festspiele Neuester Musik, 1962, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart, Archiv Sohm. Foto: © Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

„I don’t ever want the art to be still, finished […] I want it to be available for somebody to do something else with it… [something] that I wouldn’t have thought of.“

Alison Knowles, 2003

When Alison Knowles came to Wiesbaden in September 1962 to join George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, Nam June Paik, Emmett Williams, Ben Patterson and Wolf Vostell for four weekends and fourteen performances as part of the „Fluxus International Festival of New Music“ in the lecture hall of the Städtisches Museum, she was 29 years old. Unlike what Wiesbaden audiences knew from the annual imperial „May Festival“, the concert series at that time was an integral part of the radical departure from everything that had ever been experienced in the affluent and moderate art and political scene after the end of the Second World War. Energetic, pushing the boundaries of supposed „good taste“ and redefining a visit to a museum event, „Fluxus“ broke with conventions and expectations – so much so that individual Wiesbadeners commented on the events of the time with nothing more than „The lunatics are loose“.

The upcoming retrospective of this extraordinary artist presents the extensive work of Alison Knowles from her earliest works to the present day. The exhibition takes a look at the ideational aspects of the Fluxus movement and the ideas of that zeitgeist, but above all emphasizes Alison Knowles' sensitive and poetic art and her view of the world. To this day, she is regarded as one of the most central figures of the Fluxus movement, probably also because her artistic work outlasted the first generation of Fluxus and, in addition to ephemeral, performative art, she also moved in the fields of painting, printmaking, sculpture and installation, sound works, poetry and publication. As the only female co-founder of Fluxus, Knowles' work differs from that of her male colleagues particularly in her interest in food and domestic materials and activities, which she described as „secrets of ordinary things“. The resulting wide range of her artistic forms of expression therefore once again illustrates the broad spectrum of Knowles' work, which now spans more than 60 years, and the interdisciplinarity that she has formulated both in her own art-making and in the performative participatory spectrum.

With international loans, including the expansive installation „The Boat Book“, the exhibition offers a rare insight into Knowles' work in such a concentrated form. Particularly noteworthy is „The House of Dust“, which has been on display in Wiesbaden's Kranzplatz since 2021 thanks to the „tinyBE“ project. Stay tuned!


The House of Dust in Wiesbaden, at Kranzplatz

3D printing, clay, wood, concrete, various materials, 3 × 5 × 4 m

Wiesbaden Kranzplatz — until the end of October 2024

Further information on the „tinyBE“ project

Alison Knowles, The House of Dust, 1967/2021, 3D printed by WASP © tinyBE #1, photo: Wolfgang Günzel
Alison Knowles, The House of Dust, 1967/2021, 3D printed by WASP © tinyBE #1, photo: Wolfgang Günzel

An exhibition in cooperation with the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA)

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