Tomas Schmit (1943–2006) is one of the pioneers of the Fluxus movement of the early 60s. Between 1970 and 2006 he developed a ramified work of drawings, texts, books and concepts of artists' books. Tomas Schmit has played a considerable role in shaping the radical questioning of art and approaches to new aesthetics. He took part in Fluxus events that are nowadays considered milestones in the art of the 60s. As organiser, he arranged for the legendary event 20th July TU Aachen 1964 (with Beuys, Köpcke, Vostell, Paik amongst others). In 1982, in the book 1962 Wiesbaden Fluxus 1982, he wrote the theoretical text about f. which represents one of the rare profound evaluations of the ideas of Fluxus from the artist's perspective.Read More
Tomas Schmit pulled out of the active Fluxus actions early, as he was against an adulteration of the radical potential. It is also this potential which his probably most important working principle is based on: 'what I learned from f., along with many other things: what can be mastered by a sculpture, doesn't have to be erected as a building; what can be brought by a painting, doesn't have to be made as a sculpture; what can be accomplished in a drawing, doesn't have to become a painting; what can be cleared on a scrap of paper, doesn't need to be done as a drawing; and what can be settled in the head, doesn't even require a paper scrap!'
In the following decades, Schmit developed works that comprise several thousand drawings. He published editions and books. His topics are language, logic, paradoxes, biology, cybernetics, cerebral research, behaviour research and apperception theory etc. In 1989, his book first draft (of central aesthetics) provided an introduction to cerebral research, which the cyberneticist Prof. Valentin Braitenberg characterised in the following way: 'I actually intend to recommend this book when some physicist or whatever other beginner, as it often happens, will again ask me for an introduction to cerebral research. I suppose, it took a poet to grasp the charm of the material access to psychology, including the pleasure in self-critical accuracy. Consequently, the book is an antipode to what ever so often annoys you: the belittling of events and concealment of problems that popular science uses to ingratiate with the people–but, thus, only shows its disrespect for the audience.'
Tomas Schmit had main retrospective solo exhibitions at Kölnischer Kunstverein (1978), DAAD gallery Berlin & Sprengel Museum Hanover (1987), Portikus Frankfurt/Main (1997) and Museum Ludwig Cologne (2007). He is represtented by Galerie Michael Werner, Berlin/New York and Barbara Wien, Berlin. In autumn 2021 Schmit will have two parallel major exhibitions in Berlin.
The Neue Berliner Kunstverein will show his early performative works (until 1969) and the Kupferstichkabinett Berlin will present his drawings. Two books will be published.
Text courtesy Barbara Wien.
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