Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Toulouse, FRAC Midi-Pyrénées

Daniel Spoerri, les dadas des deux Daniel

From 2 february to 3 september 2017
les Abattoirs
Daniel Spoerri, "Alpha-Omega", 1992-93, collection Daniel Cordier @Adagp

Daniel Spoerri (born 1930), founding member of Nouveau Réalisme, will be taking over the basement of les Abattoirs. Rather than just a historical presentation, he designed “les dadas des deux Daniel”, a vast cabinet of curiosities comprising his works, his ethnographic collection and the Daniel Cordier collection; given to the Pompidou Centre and on loan here at les Abattoirs.

Daniel Spoerri was born in Romania in 1930 but immigrated to Switzerland with his mother and siblings after his father was killed during the war. Initially working with poetry and dance, he turned to sculptural art and became a member of Nouveau Réalisme in 1960. Spoerri is also very much associated with the Fluxus art movement "characterized by a strongly Dadaist attitude, [whose] participants were a divergent group of individualists whose most common theme was their delight in spontaneity and humour."

It was at this time that he started his snare-pictures which he describes as follows; "objects found in chance positions, in order or disorder (on tables, in boxes, drawers, etc.) are fixed (‘snared’) as they are. Only the plane is changed: since the result is called a picture, what was horizontal becomes vertical. Example: remains of a meal are fixed to the table at which the meal was consumed and the table hung on the wall."

Pursuing this idea he created works using everyday objects (the opposite of trompe- l’œil; détrompe- l’œil) and food, thus prefiguring Eat Art, where eating becomes the subject of the work. He is also widely acclaimed for his book, Topographie Anécdotée* du Hasard (An Anecdoted Topography of Chance), a literary analogue to his snare-pictures, in which he mapped all the objects located on his table at a particular moment, describing each with his personal recollections evoked by the object. . Daniel Spoerri’s work questions social, cultural, and symbolic aspects of food and objects.

Several snare-pictures can be found, with a section dedicated to a lesser-known and earlier part of his work; the MAT editions (Multiplication d’Art Transformable), a venture founded in 1959 which contested the idea of a unique work of art, selling 3-dimensional art and including many well-known artists such as de Man Ray, Jean Tinguely, Pol Bury and Roy Lichtenstein. Tony Morgan's video in collaboration with Daniel Spoerri, Beefsteak - Resurrection (1968), reverses the story of a steak from death to life and wraps up this theme on the cycle of life.

For "Dadas des deux Daniel", Daniel Spoerri will set up the exhibition to show the complicity between his works, and both his and Daniel Cordier’s collection.

Daniel Cordier (born 1920) is an art dealer, writer, historian, and critic. During World War II he was secretary to Jean Moulin, a high-profile member of the French Resistance. After the war he became an art dealer and one of the most generous collectors to art museums in France. His donations of Modern and Contemporary works, and also ethnographic artefacts, art works and curios from all the continents, make up a substantial part of les Abattoirs collection; a permanent regional loan from the Centre Pompidou. Just like for Daniel Spoerri, where his work slots intrinsically in with his collection, for Daniel Cordier the very different geographical zones, cultures and themes of his chosen pieces go happily hand in hand.


Daniel Spoerri, "La Sainte famille", 1986, Collection Centre Pompidou, Paris / Musée national d’art moderne - Centre de création industrielle ©Adagp