Serge IIIOldenbourg

Biography

Serge III Oldenbourg (1927 Meudon, France – 2000 Nice, France) was a French artist known for pushing the boundaries of his work to the extreme, playing at the intersection of truth and legend. Oldenbourg’s works are marked by a radical and caustic attitude. In 1964, on the occasion of his participation in Jean-Jacques Lebel’s Festival de la Libre Expression in Paris, Oldenbourg proposed Death, a Russian roulette played against himself with a real gun and bullet. The same drive carried Oldenbourg throughout Europe, where he presented Fluxus concerts and Happenings with Ben Vautier in collaboration with George Maciunas. In 1966, he performed alongside Milan Knížák, Dick Higgins, and Alison Knowles in Prague. Following the conclusion of the final evening’s event, Oldenbourg handed his passport to a Slovak soldier, enabling him to flee westward. This incident led to the incarceration of Oldenbourg, who served more than a year in prison before being released in exchange for a Czech spy jailed in France. In the account presented in Journal de Prison (1983), Oldenbourg reflects on his moral strength, personal freedom, and the inner subversiveness of art. References to imprisonment remained central to his artistic production. During his career, Oldenbourg participated in countless Fluxus events, becoming one of the emblematic figures of the École de Nice. He exhibited in numerous galleries, at the Galerie d’art contemporain des Musées de Nice (1988), and, along with many Fluxus peers, at the 1990 Biennale di Venezia.

Artworks (9)