Nam June Paik


Many Fluxus composers ‘wrote’ pieces for the violin. Since 1962, once of these has often been performed successfully, namely: Solo for violin viola cello or contrabass, by George Brecht. The musical score consists of just one word: ‘Polishing’.

One for Violin by Nam June Paik, also dating back to 1962, is much less demure. In this piece a violin is being raised very slowly and then smashed with a big bang on a table.

In 1981 Peter van Beveren and I organised a Fluxus Festival at the AKI, the Academy of Art and Design in Enschede.

We managed to get a beautiful violin on loan from the local music store. The owner was under the impression that it was an important festival with contributions by many famous composers from abroad. He had handed his best and most valuable violin over to us.

During the final concert Ben Vautier would perform some short Fluxus ‘classics’. Dick Higgins warned him, ‘Ben, please remember that the violin is both special and expensive, so tonight no Solo for Violin.’

Vautier just didn’t listen nor care and smashed the violin to pieces. On top of that the French Fluxist had used a grand piano as a table and it got rather damaged during the performance.

Dick got so angry that he stopped cooperating with the festival.

A book on this legendary Festival will be published end of September:

1981 AKI FLUXFEST 2021