Fluxus East

Fluxus Networks in Central Eastern Europe

Tibor Hajas

1946, born in Budapest, Hungary
1980, died in Szeged

In 1964, Tibor Hajas began to study at the ELTE, Budapest. He was arrested in 1965 and not released until 14 months later. As from 1967, his first poems appeared in literary magazines and anthologies. He began producing action art and conceptual works in 1969. In 1973, he was represented by readings and happenings at the chapel exhibitions of Balatonboglár. In 1974, he met the artist and musician János Vető, who became his artistic partner. From 1975 onwards, he developed an active interest in film and video – both in practice and theory. From 1978 onwards, his principal active interest was in performances. Hajas died in a car accident in 1980.

His work, most of which dates from the 1970s, includes objects, theoretical texts, photographs, performances (often without an audience) and films. Above all, his artistic work centred on the body, on its physical and mental resilience and the thin line between life and death. Hajas thus placed his own life in danger in actions such as Dark Flash (1978, Galeria Riwiera-Remont), giving the audience the responsibility of abandoning their passive role and putting an end to the performance. Using a camera, Hajas documented the uncertainty of those present as they unexpectedly became protagonists in the event.

Hajas’ actions – particularly the way they exhaust the human body’s limitations – have an affinity to Vienna Actionists like Günter Brus and Rudolf Schwarzkogler, but also to the Body Art of the Czech artist Petr Štembera. Parallels to Fluxus can be discerned in Tibor Hajas’ clear anti-art position, and in actions such as Everything is but its own copy – a stamp action.

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