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In: Poetica

Abstract

Scholars hold that performance art wants to seize the moment, cannot be preserved or put on display, and necessarily remains outside the cultural archive. In contrast, this essay stresses the medial and material aspect of performance art and highlights the temporal opposition of presence and permanence as a feature of written documents. The linguistic origins of performance art and its temporal nature are a key to understanding Wolf Vostell’s artworks. His relationship to poetry and language has only recently received attention. Vostell’s drafts, notes, invitations, manifestos, score cards, correspondences, and books form the basis of a vast collection that create permanence beyond the fleetingness of the happening. Central to the following investigation is the temporal flux of Vostell’s concept of “dé-coll/age,” the way in which language informs his aesthetics, and the role that the museum plays in his artistic considerations.

In: Poetica