Daniel Spoerri

Born 1930 in Romania. Lives and works in Vienna, Austria



Born 1930 in Galați, Romania
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria

The Vienna-based artist Daniel Spoerri is one of the most outstanding representatives of Object Art. Together with Jean Tinguely and Yves Klein, he is one of the pioneers of Nouveau Réalisme; furthermore, he is regarded as the inventor of Eat Art. His Tableaux pièges (Engl. trap pictures), created in the 60s and developed further over decades, preserve a very specific time and comprehensible atmosphere. They are captured settings: an evening with friends, a work desk, or a flea market stall. Like a trap („piège“) they hold a piece of everyday reality like in a trap. His artistic work is characterized by vivid subversive energy, his constant curiosity, and his love for collecting the most diverse objects. They serve as testimonies of the past, their functions and meanings – seismographs of bygone, yet simultaneously preserved times.

Kai Schupke has described Daniel Spoerri’s work as follows: “Spoerri collects old things on garbage dumps and flea markets. By collecting unused things that have been marginalized, repressed, and discarded by society, objects that have fallen out of their cycle of service, and no longer have a place in the order of things he draws attention to the system of culture with its mechanisms of devaluation and exclusion. You have to make reality be seen. Not its sweet-chocolate side, but the clutter, the rubbish, the eaten-off table.” Daniel Spoerri uses the trap-picture principle in various contexts. 

Daniel Spoerri describes himself as homeless. He lived in Romania, Switzerland, France, Greece, Germany, Italy and Austria. He spent a short time in New York. With the idea of the „trap pictures“, he had secured himself a place in art history since 1959. In addition to numerous international solo and group exhibitions, he realized major projects, such as a restaurant in Düsseldorf (1968) and the invention of Eat Art, as well as the exhibition principle “Musée sentimental”. From 1978 to 1989, Daniel Spoerri taught in Cologne and Munich. From 1989, he dedicated himself to a new large-scale project, a 14-hectare sculpture garden in southern Tuscany „Il Giardino di Daniel Spoerri – Hic Terminus Haeret”. In 2007, he opened the “Spoerri Exhibition Center” in Hadersdorf am Kamp (Lower Austria). His works have been displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions. 

Important solo exhibitions have taken place in various institutions around the world such as: Le Musée Le Carroi, Chinon, France (2015), MOCAK – Museum of contemporary art, Krakow, Poland (2019/2015), Natural History Museum, Vienna, Austria (2012), Collection Essl, Klosterneuburg, Austria (2011), Museo d´Arte Contemporanea, Genoa, Italy (2010), Ludwig Museum in the Deutschherrenhaus, Koblenz, Germany (2009), Centro per l´Arte Contemporanea Luigi Pecci, Prato, Italy (2007), Staatliche Museum Schwerin, Schwerin, Germany (2006), Kunsthaus Wien, Vienna, Austria (2003), Kasseler Kunstverein, Kass.el, Germany (1998), Centre Pompidou – Musée National d´Art Moderne, Paris, France (1990) and others.