The Contemporary Arts Museum in Lyon, France has opened a new exhibition of work by Ben Vautier, whose scribbled notes adorn coffee cups, notepads, pencil cases and drying-up cloths across France.
Ben Vautier said, “In this expo, I’m saying that it is my last one and I’m trying to be free, to be myself, to hide nothing. And that means doing a strip-tease.”
Ben admits that he’s a bit of megalomania. “I find megalomania in all art these days but I’m a bit of a specialist. I’m the expert because I’ve taken my own ego as my specialist subject, just like people used to take colours or painting… and what’s the answer to ego? Death.
“I like lancing boils. I’m frightened of nothing. I talk about nothing, and if I’m afraid of death, I speak about death. Here is a piece that I like a lot. Knowing everything…. is knowing nothing…That’s a really Zen thing. I like it.
“The bedroom through here is a sex room. Let’s have a look. It’s not finished. There that’s Ben the sex maniac! There’s a picture missing which says “Voulez-vous coucher avec moi!” At the end of the day art is the same for men and for women. It’s a way of saying Look at ME! I’m the best. Come on, let’s go to bed together. And here’s the bed…
“And somehow art is also a lie. Art is only the ego showing off. It’s Look AT ME! That’s what’s written on the back of all the pictures in the world. So there’s play acting in art. An artist tries to exist, an artist is a show off.”
But, show off or not, Ben’s art will be on display until 11th July.
For more information about the museum see
For more information about Ben Vautier see