Ben Vautier (1932 in Leverkusen, Germany – 1998 in Berlin, Germany), more known only as Ben, is a French artist of Swiss origin and now lives in Nice. He was one of the most important representatives of the Fluxus movement in the 1960s.
Vautier’s artistic work follows in the composition the ready-mades, the object-art and the composition.
In his first years Vautier’s family often moved between several countries and finally moved to Nice in 1949. Vautier began to develop a personal artistic style based on Dadaism. He was inspired by artists such as Yves Klein, Marcel Duchamp and the Nouveaux Réalistes.
Between 1958 and 1973 Ben Vautier operated a record shop in Nice. This caused quite a stir through the interior furnishings. In 1994 the façade of the shop was displayed at the Center Georges Pompidou.
In 1959 Vautier founded the magazine Ben Dieu. In the following year, the first single exhibition “Rien et tout” took place on the first floor of his shop. Ben Vautier is one of the leading members of the Fluxus movement from 1962 to 1970. This made Nice a center for Fluxus in France.
Early in the 1960s, Vautier undertook the action of signing everything that came under his eye, including the works of other artists and his own body. He proceeded from Duchamp’s ready-mades and the realization that a work of art could only be recognized by the signature.