Daniel Spoerri

Daniel Spoerri is a Swiss artist and writer born in Romania. Spoerri is best known for his "snare-pictures," a type of assemblage or object art, in which he captures a group of objects, such as the remains of meals eaten by individuals, including the plates, silverware and glasses, all of which are fixed to the table or board, which is then displayed on a wall.

In the 1950s he was active in dance, studying classical dance with Olga Preobrajenska and in 1954 becoming the lead dancer at the State Opera of Bern, Switzerland. He later staged several avant-garde plays. During that period he met a number of Surrealist artists, including Jean Tinguely, Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, and also a number of artists subsequently associated with the Fluxus movement, including Robert Filliou, Dieter Roth and Emmett Williams. In the late 1950s, Spoerri married Vera Mertz.

In 1959 Spoerri founded Editions MAT ("Multiplication d'art Transformable"), a venture which produced and sold copies of three dimensional constructed artworks by artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Dieter Roth, Jean Tinguely and Victor Vasarely. One of the best known works produced by Editions MAT was Man Ray's Indestructible Object. In 1960, Spoerri made his first "snare-picture". He later explained snare-pictures as follows: "objects found in chance positions, in order or disorder (on tables, in boxes, drawers, etc.) are fixed (‘snared’) as they are. Only the plane is changed: since the result is called a picture, what was horizontal becomes vertical.

Spoerri was one of the original signers of the manifesto creating the Nouveau réalisme (New Realism) art movement, an avant garde endeavor formed in 1960. He is also closely associated with the Fluxus art movement, a movement formed in the early 1960s.

Spoerri continued to make snare-pictures, including snares of eaten meals, into the 1990s. He also has created assemblage works, mounting objects on reproductions of 19th century medical illustrations as backgrounds. Spoerri has also produced serigraph and bronze versions of his works. Spoerri has led a nomadic life, living variously in Bern, Paris, the Greek island of Symi, Düsseldorf, Basel, Munich and Vienna. In 1997 he moved to the Tuscan town of Seggiano where he opened Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri (the Garden of Daniel Spoerri), a sculpture garden, where works by a number of artists are displayed.

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