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Popular Artist Commits Su!cide After Wife’s Death | Citizen NewsNG

ByCitizen NewsNG

Jun 6, 2024

Late Benjamin Vautier





Benjamin Vautier, famously known as “Ben”, has died by suicide at age 88, according to LeMonde.

He died shortly after his wife of 60 years passed away. Known for his ironic painted slogans, Ben was a significant figure in the 1960s Fluxus movement, which aimed to disrupt conventional art.


On December 1, 2009, Ben posed with a work reading “I have nothing to explain to you” in front of his home in Nice.

His family announced his death on Wednesday, June 5. Ben’s wife, Annie, had suffered a stroke on Monday evening and died on Wednesday.


“Unwilling and unable to live without her, Ben killed himself a few hours later at their home,” their children, Eva and François, said in a statement.


Le Monde reports that Ben was born in Naples in 1935, moved to Nice at 14 and spent his life there.


Ben’s artistic approach was characterized by a provocative irony that would later become highly influential. He famously declared, “Everything is art,” and instead of creating traditional artworks, he devised “gestures” like shouting in a gallery window until he lost his voice or organizing plays that never actually took place.


He also signed anything he pleased, including the bodies of passersby and other artists’ work, stating, “My art will be an art of appropriation… I believe that art is in the intention, and it is enough to sign.”


By challenging the conventional boundaries of art and questioning the need for formal training and talent, Ben’s unconventional approach earned him both praise and criticism from his peers, with some viewing him as an opportunist or dilettante.


However, he maintained that his humour always conveyed a serious message, declaring, “I am not a money machine, but a communication machine.”


Ben’s humorous slogans, painted in childlike handwriting on black backgrounds, became iconic and were widely reproduced on various mediums, from school bags to tram stops in Nice, solidifying his place in the art world, including New York’s MoMA.


“On our children’s pencil cases, on so many everyday objects, and even in our imaginations, Ben had left his mark, made of freedom and poetry, of apparent lightness and overwhelming depth,” stated French President Emmanuel Macron.

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