Tomas Schmit

Tischtheater

currently on display

Artist / Artist group
Tomas Schmit
Title
Tischtheater
Edition / Serial number
50
Category
multiple
Material / Technique
78 text sheets, 5 foldable game boards, cardboard box, hectograph on paper on cardboard
Dimensions / Duration
17 x 33 x 3 cm
Collection
ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe
Description

Tomas Schmit’s »Table Theater« consists of five folding cardboard game boards, printed on both sides to form ten boards and seventy-eight possible game variations. The boards also include simple instructions for spectators. Including the audience is one of the Fluxus movement’s fundamental principles: The »audience is leader.«[1] Schmit understands art »not as a finished piece to be admired, but as an open invitation to participate, reflect, complete the work oneself.«[2] The German artist was an important part of the Fluxus movement when it began in the 1960s. He became acquainted with George Maciunas and the first Fluxus performances through Nam June Paik, whom he met in 1961. One of the movement’s essential aims was to elide not just the divide between art and life, but also between artist and audience. However, Schmit moved away from Fluxus fairly early on, because he felt that the movement’s radical ideas were not being implemented stringently enough.



Schmit conceived »Table Theater« as a means of »private consciousness-fulfillment.«[3] The idea that art should not be made for the larger public was a central notion in the early Fluxus movement.

Schmit’s 1989 publication »erster entwurf (einer zentralen ästhetik)« [first draft (of central aesthetics)] provided an introduction to neurology recognized in scientific circles. The artist was deeply interested in the natural sciences and especially in optics. Indeed, observing the process of perception is something fundamental to the viewer’s experience of »Table Theater«, for example when »a glass of water, / a cup of tea / a glass of beer and a glass / of salt water all race against each other to evaporate fastest.«[3]





[1] Tomas Schmit, »58: 'Tischtheater',«, in: tomas schmit, werke 1962 bis 1978, exhib. cat., (Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1978). Translated here from the German.

[2] Wulf Herzogenrath, »Foreword,« in: tomas schmit, werke 1962 bis 1978, exhib. cat., (Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1978). Translated here from the German.

[3] Tomas Schmit, »58: 'Tischtheater',« in: tomas schmit, werke 1962 bis 1978, exhib. cat., (Cologne: Kölnischer Kunstverein, 1978). Translated here from the German.

Author: Teresa Heinzelmann