Anyone seeking something unusual in the way of an art experience should visit the Vostell Malpartida Museum, close to Cáceres in the Extremadura region of Spain. Incorporating the Fluxus technique, using video and instrumentation art in a natural setting, German artist Wolf Vostell (1932-1998), has created a marvel.
A brief explanation of the “Fluxus” movement is that the word itself is taken from a Latin word meaning “flow” or “flux.” Back in the 1960s, an international group of artists, designers and composers used the term to describe their work of blending several different artistic media and disciplines together, using noise music, visual art, architecture, design and video.
Wolf Vostell was one of the early associates of this method, and other well known artists involved in the movement include Yoko Ono, Al Hansen, Dick Higgins and Joseph Beuys.
The museum is located in the Los Barruecos de Malpartida natural park, approximately 13 kilometers from the city of Cáceres, Spain. In 1976, Vostell took over the old wool washhouse building (pictured below), dating back from the 18th century. He went on to create an avant-garde exhibition showing the meeting of art, life and nature.
Covering 14,000 square meters of floor space, there are three huge collections to explore consisting of the “Wolf and Mercedes Vostell Collection” by Wolf Vostell, the “Fluxus Donation Gino di Maggio Collection” and the “Conceptual Artists Collection.” This article will cover the “Wolf and Mercedes Vostell Collection.”
This collection is probably the most representative of Vostell’s artistic work in Spain, offering several installations, including: “Auto Fever (1973),” the fascinating “Fluxus Buick Piano” and the “Breakfast of Leonardo da Vinci in Berlin in 1998.” Combining the cars themselves, with television and sound, Vostell gives a definition of our current society.
As well as the vehicles, there are several large sculptures and reliefs including the “Concrete Bullring,” “Transhumance,” the “Burial of the Sardine (1985)” and the “Girls of Snooker (1986),” among others. All the art exhibits display the Fluxus technique, making the Vostell Malpartida Museum in Cáceres, Spain a fascinating visit.
In the garden outside the building is a permanent large sculpture piece by Wolf Vostell called “Why did the process between Pilate and Jesus last only two minutes?” which has been formed using a Russian Mig-21 aircraft, together with two cars, various computer monitors and three pianos (pictured above left), rising to a height of 16 meters.
There are also several other sculptures dotted around the property including the car in concrete sculpture below:
It is difficult to describe in words the effect of these installations. A better idea can, of course, be gained by an actual visit to the Vostell Malpartida Museum in Cáceres, Spain, where the Fluxus technique in art never fails to fascinate. However, the video below does give an idea of the sheer fascination of his artistic work, which seems similar to recent science fiction films about a dystopian society, with discordant notes and other sounds in the background and televisions playing out various scenes recorded in, and related, to the installation.
By Anne Sewell
Museo Vostell Malpartida (Spanish)
Extremadura Tourism (Spanish)
Vostell Malpartida Museum on Facebook (Spanish)
Car exhibit courtesy Museo Vostell Malpartida
Car in concrete sculpture by Wolf Vostell in the Public Domain by Rpmayor
Wolf Vostell, working on his installation in Cáceres in 1980 CC by-SA Santisolyluna
Sculpture “Why did the process between Pilate and Jesus last only two minutes?” CC by-SA Hans Peter Schaefer
Panoramic view of the Vostell Malpartida Museum in the public domain