5.

AS BORING AS POSSIBLE/VEXATIONS.

Programme flyer for Nam June Paik and Charlotte Moorman's concert entitled 'So Langweilig Wie Möglich', Galerie René Block, Berlin, July 15, 1966, followed by a performance of Erik Satie's 'Vexations', July 17, 1966. Printed recto only. 29.6x21cm. Nicked, chipped and edge-torn, with some paper loss; buff paper age-toned, with spotting to verso.


The Fluxus-style 'As Boring As Possible' concert lasted five hours and manifested Nam June Paik's action-music strategy of "constant surprise, disappointment, and extreme tedium" (he once defined the latter as "Like Proust, Palestrina, Zen, Gregorian Chant, mass, Paris café, life, sex, and dog who looks into the distance"). It featured live performance from Paik and Moorman (including an early performance of Yoko Ono's 'Cut Piece', listed as 'Composition' in the programme) and film collaborations with Jud Yalkut, interspersed with George Brecht's Symphony no.4 in which a performer plays an LP recording of Roy Acuff singing 'Fireball Mail'.


Two days later Paik and Moorman performed 'Vexations', Erik Satie's composition comprising a short theme to be repeated 840 times. It was first performed in its entirety by John Cage and a relay team of pianists in 1963, and for this performance, billed in the programme as the first in Europe, Paik and Moorman were assisted by four others, one of them Gerhard Rühm. When Moorman took her turn, she appeared topless, and when questioned later by a journalist, she replied: "Satie liked nudity. When they put on his ballet Relâche in 1925 in Paris, Marcel Duchamp had to undress completely. Paik believes that performing Vexations [this way] is in the spirit of Satie. When I left New York John Cage bet me that I wouldn't do it. Now he owes me a hundred dollars."

Sold