Installation, 65 × 92 cm.
Materials: 10 photographic enlargements of telegrams, on wooden stretchers
Collection: Collection M HKA, Antwerp.
Excerpt of the conversation between Robert Filliou (RF) and Irmeline Lebeer (IL), Flayosc, France, August 1976.
RF: ‘Intuitive Exhibition.’ That’s the telegrams. In this exhibition, there were the telegrams and the anticipated relics. It was my first exhibition in France, ten years ago, in 1966. I prepared and conceived the Telegrams when George and I had the Cedilla. We have photos for that. Anticipated Relics was a projection of slides against the wall.
In the telegrams there are two parts. The first one is ‘Without Materials, Almost’. It means that the only material is the telegram, enlarged and mounted on wood. Just things like: ‘The night, seen from night, is day. ‘Everything happens and everything happens at the same time.’ ‘You precede yourself, reflect yourself, follow yourself.’ Things like that. But the second part is ‘With Materials’. It means that an object is hanging on the telegram each time: a saw, for example, with a red handle. And each time there’s this text: ‘Somewhere, somehow, this is a red bird.’ I kept the theme of the bird for almost everything, except for the last one, which is a picture of me and says: ‘Somewhere, somehow, this is me.’
When I was making ‘Intuitive Exhibition’ I wanted to go beyond the heritage of Duchamp, who taught us once and for all that any object, like the saw I was talking about, may be considered from at least two points of view: by its function or as a ready-made work of art. For me, this is a totally Western view of things. In another continent this saw could already be a symbol of power. It could be a taboo object. If we go into space, we could encounter animals who are exactly like this saw. A red bird, for example. There’s that reference. I called it ‘Intuitive Exhibition’ in the sense that until now, through our great predecessors like Duchamp, invention has replaced composition. Many modern artists are more attached to invention. But I propose – and practice – that intuition should replace invention.
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The M HKA’s contemporary art collection has grown thanks to a combination of acquisitions, donations and long-term loans from various public