The Highest of All the Arts is Insurrection

From July 26 to November 9, 2014 the ZKM | Karlsruhe will show a comprehensive retrospective of the work of French artist, writer and activist Jean- Jacques Lebel (b. 1936) – one of the first to author Political Happenings. His actions, installations, sculptures, objects, paintings, videos and texts are in explicit rebellion against the terror of war and psychiatry, against the horror of colonialism, against a culture of self-inflicted stupidity and a society characterized by oppression and racism.

In addition to eight large scale installations – shown together for the first time, in an exhibition space of 2000 square meters – the retrospective also shows some of the most important paintings, drawings and films by Jean-Jacques Lebel. It provides detailed insight into the work of this polymorphic and polysemic artist who lived and worked in close collaboration with the Dadaists, Surrealists and the poets of the Beat Generation.

Since his first exhibition (Galleria Numero, Florence, 1955) and starting with his first Happening (Venice, 1960), Lebel has made major contributions to the dynamics of the most lively counter-culture of our time –“Art Actionism”. An associate of Brock and Vostell, Lebel is considered the initiator of Happenings in Europe a few years before Viennese Actionism.

  • Artists:
    Jean Jacques Lebel
  • Open:
    Saturday, 26 July 2014
  • Close:
    Sunday, 09 November 2014
  • Address:
    ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Lorenzstraß 19, 76135 Karlsruhe, Germany
  • Mail:
  • Phone:
    +49 0 721 81000
  • Photo credits:
    1. Jean-Jacques Lebel, Ya bon, Banania, 1990, Photo by Adam Rzpka © Jean-Jacques Lebel; 2. Jean-Jacques Lebel, Le cénotaphe dédié aux poilus bricoleurs, anonymes, de 14/18, 2012, Photo: Bernhard Serexhe © Jean-Jacques Lebel; 3. Jean-Jacques Lebel, Le Monument à Félix Guattari, 1994, Photo: Bertrand Prévost/ Centre Pompidou © Jean-Jacques Lebel; 4. Jean-Jacques Lebel, Les avatars de Vénus, 2006, Photo: MAMCO Genf, photographer unknown © Jean-Jacques Lebel


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