Wolf Vostell

(1932 - 1998)

Wolf Vostell, born in Leverkusen, Germany, was a painter and sculptor—considered one of the early adopters of video art and installation art and pioneer of Happening and Fluxus. Techniques such as blurring and Dé-collage are characteristic of his work, as is embedding objects in concrete and the use of television sets in his works.


Video Works

In 1958 Wolf Vostell introduced a then-new medium to art, combining, in Transmigration, a slashed canvas with a flickering TV screen. Sun in your head, 1963, Vostell's early film montage, made media history. Using moving television images, Vostell demonstrated the medium's potential as an aesthetic language long before video tape became accessible.

Vostell was central to the development of happenings—in the most intense of which a train plowed into a Mercedes parked on the tracks—and was also a founder of Fluxus in Europe. While never primarily a video artist—Vostell's happenings, actions and installations used a wide range of media from the early 1960s—he did keep reverting to television and the other mass media, supplying, in doing so, some important and highly complex stimuli for the video art discourse.

Wolf Vostell's second exhibition at the Janos Gat Gallery consists of his complete works in video, from Sun in your head—produced at the Smolin Gallery, NY—to Sarajevo, 1993. Also included—and presented here for the first time—TV De-coll/age, an explosive series of fifty prints of photographs of distorted television broadcasts that the artist took of his own "Cuba" TV set between 1959 and 1967.

Inquiries welcome. Exhibition catalogue available.