Do you believe that art can be created by anyone? American FLUXUS artist Ken Friedman will try to prove it to you at the virtual opening of his exhibition 99 Events that was created over a period of almost seven decades. The show exhibits 99 short scripts/instructions that every visitor is invited to make happen.
“This exhibition provides an opportunity for conceptual art lovers in Lithuania to feel the global pulse of this art, as Ken Friedman has presented 99 Events in some of the most popular galleries around the world this year. The exhibition has been exhibited in New York, Wellington, Australia, New Zealand and Shanghai, China. Through this exhibition, the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center together with Vilnius and Lithuania will make a strong appearance on the global map of the FLUXUS movement,” says Gintaras Sodeika, Director of the Jonas Mekas Visual Arts Center (JMVMC) located in Užupis, Vilnius.
According to Sodeika, this particular exhibition is especially suitable as a contemporary installation, when the pandemic has restricted movement around the world and its pieces do not need to be physically transported. “The exhibition consists of 99 instructions printed on small sheets of paper and the viewer is invited to perform a playful or somewhat odd activity, such as scrubbing a public sculpture on the first day of Spring, packing a simple object or just observing silence,” Sodeika reveals.
Ken Friedman shows us how art can become a mental game in which the imagination can travel freely when our bodies cannot do so. A similar approach is particularly prevalent among all members of the FLUXUS movement, who prefer not the things themselves, but the way that people experience them.
99 Events was created between 1956 and 2019. Friedman was one of the precursors of the FLUXUS movement. When George Maciunas learned about the work of sixteen-year-old Ken Friedman, Maciunas invited Ken to join the FLUXUS movement and thus, he became its youngest member and representative in the Western part of the USA. For many years, Friedman worked closely not only with Maciunas, but also collaborated with many prominent representatives of FLUXUS art: Nam June Paik and Milan Knizak. The artist’s works have been exhibited in prestigious venues such as the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) and the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Tate Modern Gallery in London, the Hood Art Museum in Dartmouth (USA) and the Staatsgalerie in Stuttgart.
Sodeika emphasizes that although Friedman started on these works in the 1960s, the exhibition is still very relevant today. “I will quote Jonas Mekas’ words that the idea of FLUXUS is much broader than the happenings its members staged fifty years ago. FLUXUS is an approach to things around us that makes them fun, playful and relevant even today,” says the head of the JMVMC.
The exhibition 99 Events will run until September 15. The exhibition is supported by the Lithuanian Council for Culture.
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