Ben Vautier is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...
), also known simply as Ben, is a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
Vautier lives and works in Nice
Nice is the fifth most populous city in France, after Paris, Marseille, Lyon and Toulouse, with a population of 348,721 within its administrative limits on a land area of . The urban area of Nice extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of more than 955,000 on an area of...
, where he ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973. He discovered Yves Klein
Yves Klein was a French artist considered an important figure in post-war European art. He is the leading member of the French artistic movement of Nouveau réalisme founded in 1960 by the art critic Pierre Restany...
and the Nouveau Réalisme in the 1950s, but he became quickly interested in the French dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...
artist Marcel Duchamp
Marcel Duchamp was a French artist whose work is most often associated with the Dadaist and Surrealist movements. Considered by some to be one of the most important artists of the 20th century, Duchamp's output influenced the development of post-World War I Western art...
, the music of John Cage
John Milton Cage Jr. was an American composer, music theorist, writer, philosopher and artist. A pioneer of indeterminacy in music, electroacoustic music, and non-standard use of musical instruments, Cage was one of the leading figures of the post-war avant-garde...
and joined the Fluxus
Fluxus—a name taken from a Latin word meaning "to flow"—is an international network of artists, composers and designers noted for blending different artistic media and disciplines in the 1960s. They have been active in Neo-Dada noise music and visual art as well as literature, urban planning,...
artistic movement in the 1960s.
In 1959, Vautier founded the journal Ben Dieu. In 1960, he had his first one-man show, Rien et tout in Laboratoire 32.
He is also active in Mail-Art and is mostly known for his text-based paintings; an example of the latter is his work "L'art est inutile. Rentrez chez vous" (Art is Useless, Go Home).
He has long defended the rights of minorities in all countries, and he has been influenced by the theories of François Fontan
François Fontan is a French politician. He was born in 1929 in a family which came from Gascony . Raised in a monarchic family, he first joined a political party : the Mouvement Socialiste Monarchique when he was about 15, but he quickly gave up monarchism and became closer to anarchism, and,...
about ethnism. For example, he has defended the Occitan language (south of France).