- Arthur Koepcke (Hamburg 1928-Kopenhagen 1977) made paintings, drawings, collages and wrote poems from the late forties. At first he was influenced by the works of Kurt Schwitters, Kasimir Malevich and the Russian Futurists, followed by Informal and Tachistic perspectives.
He glued and attached objects to his paintings, parallel to the Nouveau Réalistes. He 'treated' his friend Otto Olsen's paintings by adding found objects, such as mirrors, pieces of paper or fabric, hair, etc. to the naturalistic works of art. He produced a number of works 'on license', among these by Daniel Spoerri.
- Koepcke worked with accumulations and disposed objects sprayed with silver paint and paintings made up by powder and objects to be well shaken and mixed. And he made a number of paradoxical objects e.g. Piece No. 24: "In a box install an electric bulb so it works but the following: = do you close the lid of the box the light goes on = do you open the lid the light goes out (system B. Kragh-Jacobsen)."
Words and fragments of sentences became part of the visual objects. His rebuses and reading/work-pieces form plays with and visualizations of ambiguity or proverbs.
The works have playful hints and implications - they can be read as one thing, or read and performed as quite another. Or accepted as plain generosity as in Piece No. 92 (one of his 'presents'): a small cellophane bag containing an ordinary rubberband, seven small nails and one pin to close envelopes. Ready to use.
- Two basic principles permeate all the works by Arthur Koepcke: "Fill with own imagination" and "...&C." (and continue). These principles are at the same time friendly, humoristic requests and serious appeals: Use your own imagination in an infinite process.
His Piece No. 1, 'Music while you work', that was performed during the first Fluxus concert in the Nikolaj Church, since 1962 his gallery, is a complete fusion of music, poetry and visual art. This piece could represent what was very characteristic for 'Fluxus Fluxorum' and 'Festival of Misfits': the annulment of the barriers between music, poetry, visual arts or - anything. From then on Arthur Koepcke's work became Fluxus and he participated in most major events in Europe until his death in 1977.
- Marianne Bech
Museet for Samtidskunst, Roskilde
Based on Marianne Bech, 'Arthur Koepcke', in Achille Bonito Oliva (ed.), Ubi Fluxus ibi motus 1990-1962 (Fondazione Mudima/Mazzotta : Milano 1990) 188. Reprinted with permission of the author and editor.
- more information