An exhibition of George Maciunas and Endre Tót
in Artpool Art Research Center
19 March – 14 May 1993
Endre Tót is a member of the neoavantgarde Iparterv generation. He has lived in Germany since 1978. He began to use 0 (pronounced zero) in his art from early 1971 onwards. He exhibited his first zero works at the Biennale de Paris in 1971 (e.g. money order 0, i.e. issued for zero forints, and a letter whose envelope only bears 0-s apart from the sender’s data and the name of the recipient.) In the years following this he organised zer0-typing actions in several venues. At the end of the exhibitions the cards with several hundred/thousand zeros written on them were sent to the four corners of the world (action+exhibition+Mail Art at the same time). Throughout the 70s he was one of the few Hungarian artists who took part in the International Mail Art Network. He began using zero in his artistamps in 1974. His ZEROPOST and zero-texts were a product of the contemporaneous Hungarian political situation characterised by an inability to communicate. His other famous action staged at the beginning of the 70s was TOTalJOYS.
Even today Endre Tót uses his I AM GLAD IF… sentences. I AM GLAD IF I CAN STAMP, which he used on his artistamp rubber stamp, became famous on an international scale. In the international FLUXshoe held in England in 1973 and during subsequent actions Tót stamped white paper for hours on end. When the action was finished several hundred sheets of paper were strewn about around the table, and a single sentence: I am glad if I can stamp could be read on each one of them. Using irony this stamping indirectly symbolised the senselessness of office work among other things. The most recent example of the same idea was the work I AM GLAD IF I CAN FAX, which he sent to Artpool’s 1992 summer fax-congress. The simplicity, playfulness and apparent naivety of these sentences perhaps reflect the spirit of Fluxus the most.
Ked Friedman, a prominent Fluxus theoretician, and critic Peter Frank introduced Endre Tót at a New York exhibition in 1982 as a representative of the Young Fluxus; however, upon seeing his works one might pose the valid question of whether they can be labelled Fluxus at all. These works could equally and justifiably qualify for the happening, action art, conceptual art, concrete and visual poetry categories.
(English translation by Krisztina Sarkady-Hart)