Ben, whose real name is Benjamin Vautier, is a French artist of Swiss origin born on July 18, 1935 in Naples, Italy. He lives and works in Nice. Member of the Fluxus group and close to the Lettrism, Ben is an artist known for his performances installations and paintings. He became known to the general public in the 1960s through his "writings" in various media and forms. He spent part of his childhood in Smyrna, Alexandria, and Lausanne and arrived in Nice at the age of 15. At the end of the 1950's, he opened a small store in Nice where he decorated the façade with an accumulation of heterogeneous objects and where he sold second-hand records. In his store, or rather on the sidewalk, were the main members of what would be called the Nice School: César, Arman, Martial Raysse, Sosno, etc. Close to Yves Klein and seduced by the new realism, he developed the idea that "art must be new and bring a shock ". Also an admirer of Isidore Isou, his work is based on the principle of painted writing and can be compared to Lettrist painting. In the early 1960s, he joined the Fluxus group and published numerous texts. At the beginning of the 1980s, on his return from Berlin, he met young artists (Robert Combas, Di Rosa, François Boisrond, Rémi Blanchard, etc.), whose movement he named "Figuration Libre", a figurative art movement characterized in particular by the absence of respect for the rules of classical figuration and the use of heterogeneous materials and discordant colors. He regularly reveals in his posts (in the magazine "Art Jonction", in his exhibitions or on his website) the hidden face of the hushed world of contemporary art and the actions of personalities (institutional, gallery owners, artists, etc.) of the art world and gives his point of view on political and cultural news. Ben has also published several collections of poetry in the spirit of the Beat Generation. He has also participated in the writing of La Clef, an ethno-linguistic atlas written by members and sympathizers like Ben, of the Occitan Nationalist Party. He has been living and working for many years on the heights of Saint-Pancrace, a hill in Nice, where his house, a personal masterpiece, is noticed in the neighborhood. He defines himself his art as an "art of appropriation" declaring: "I systematically seek to sign everything that has not been signed. I believe that art is in the intention and that it is enough to sign. I sign therefore: the holes, the mystery boxes, the kicks, God, the hens, etc. I will be very jealous of Manzoni who signs the shit and will steal the idea of living sculptures."

Born in 1935



J'avais peur de ses lèvres roses, 2011

45 x 118 cm | 17.7 x 46.4 in.