Holy Fluxus: From the Collection Francesco Conz
St. Matthew’s Church, Matthäikirchplatz, 10785 Berlin
July 13 – September 8, 2024

After many years of sorting and cataloging its extensive holdings, the Berlin-based Archivio Conz is presenting 200 highlights from its important Fluxus collection to the public for the first time. The exhibition Holy Fluxus. From the Francesco Conz Collection at St. Matthew’s Church in Berlin features selected works by Dorothy Iannone, Allan Kaprow, George Maciunas, Hermann Nitsch, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Carolee Schneemann, and Daniel Spoerri, among others. Opposite Kunstgewerbemuseum foyer, the famous "Avantgarde" Volkswagen by Charlotte Moorman will be on display, with Nam June Paik's bomb imitation mounted on the roof.

The exhibition Holy Fluxus – From the Francesco Conz Collection presents Fluxus as a global network of individuals and deliberately addresses the venue, the St. Matthew’s Church in Berlin. It sheds light on the parallels and inspirations between art and religion. “Every new artistic creation is a new interpretation of paradise. To ignore this reinterpretation of theology is to break not only with the culture of the past, but also with the future of humanity,” writes Isidore Isou, the founder of Lettrism, in one of his exhibited works. Spiritual grandchildren of the Dadaists, survivors of the Second World War, and successors of Marcel Duchamp and John Cage, Fluxus artists questioned the belief in the work of art and all image worship (idolatry)—but not art itself. Their radical response to the crisis of the work of art in the twentieth century was (not without parallels to the ecclesia) the concept of art as a community, not bound to any ideology or concept other than the ongoing address to people in society. The critical or even humorous confrontation with the Church is virulent in many works, such as the First National Church often the Exquisite Panic, Inc. by the American artist Robert Delford Brown, the Church Windows for the Fluxus Cathedral by Emmett Williams, and the Last Supper by Hermann Nitsch. Spirituality is a central theme for Fluxus. Francesco Conz, who came from a deeply devout Catholic family, developed a particular interpretation of “fetish” as a term for all the remnants of the artistic process, a kind of artist’s relic, and the artist as saint and martyr. For Conz, these fetishes—whether an article of clothing, a paintbrush, or an artist’s tooth—did not have the status of a work of art, but they did hold the magic of creation.

The exhibition is curated by Hubertus von Amelunxen, director of the Archivio Conz, and the art historian and curator Monika Branicka, and organized by the Archivio Conz and the St. Matthäus Foundation. Charlotte Moorman's Volkswagen will be shown in cooperation with the Kunstgewerbemuseum. On display are works by some 200 artists, including Eric Andersen, Alain Arias-Misson, Augusto and Haraldo de Campos, Ugo Carrega, Guiseppe Chiari, Henri Chopin, Philip Corner, Claudio Costa, Robert Delford Brown, Eric Dietman, Jean Dupuy, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Esther Ferrer, Robert Filliou, Ken Friedman, John Furnival, Ilse and Pierre Garnier, Eugen Gomringer, Ludwig Gosewitz, Bohumila Grögerová, Brion Gysin, Al Hansen, Bernard Heidsieck, Geoffrey Hendricks, Dick Higgins, Josef Hiršal, Sylvester Houédard, Dorothy Iannone, Isidore Isou, Tom Johnson, Joe Jones, Allan Kaprow, Milan Knížák, Alison Knowles, Richard Kostelanetz, Arrigo Lora-Totino, George Maciunas, Jackson MacLow, Larry Miller, Charlotte Moorman, Michael Morris, Hermann Nitsch, Ann Noël, Yoko Ono, Nam June Paik, Ben Patterson, Mimmo Rotella, Gerhard Rühm, Saito Takako, Carolee Schneemann, Paul Sharits, Mieko Shomi, Daniel Spoerri, Jirí Valoch, Ben Vautier, Robert Watts, and Emmett Williams.

Music and Concrete Poetry as forms of interpersonal communication are another focus of the exhibition. A free auxiliary program curated by Petr Studeny (Prague) and Hanns Zischler with the Dichtungsring (Berlin) will complement the exhibition with concerts, readings and performances every Tuesday at 7:00 pm. Rudolf Zwirner will hold a lecture on 26.07 at 19:00 about his experiences with Fluxus movement.

Eric Andersen, Petr Bakla, Miroslav Beinhauer, George Brecht, Luciano Chessa, Anna Clementi, Werner Durand, Deborah Walker, and Agnese Toniutti, among others, will perform, sing, and speak works by a wide range of artists, including Eric Andersen, Sylvano Bussotti, John Cage, Giuseppe Chiari, Philip Corner, Henning Christiansen, Werner Durand, Öyvind Fahlström, Geoffrey Hendricks, Toshi Ichiyanagi, Milan Knížák, Györgi Ligeti, Chris Newman, Yoko Ono, Giacinto Scelsi, and Miko Shiomi.