BIOGRAPHY / EXHIBITIONS / COLLECTIONS/ PUBLICATIONS
Born: London, England, 2 Nov, 1932
Died: May 12, 2015 Canada
Education: Vancouver School of Art
Family: Married Carol in 1960, daughter from earlier marriage: Rachel, a visual artist/photographer/singer-songwriter who lives on Salt Spring Island.
Independent artist since 1954 lived in Vancouver, 1954-59, in Paris, London and Leeds, Yorkshire, 1959-69, in Düsseldorf and Cologne, 1970-78, in West Berlin, 1978-80 and in Munich since 1981; worked again in Paris 1976-78. Guest Lecturer, High Wycombe College of Art, and Coventry College of Art, 1963-65; Senior Lecturer, Leeds College of Art, 1965-70; visiting professor University of Essen, 1978; professor of Painting and graphics, Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Munich, since 1981; professor of painting, Internationale Sommerakademie für Bildende Künste, Salzburg, 1986; "dyed and went to Bluebeard, 1987", conception of the Bluebeard Amuseum, 1987. Awards: Canada Council Senior Arts Grant, Ottawa, 1974 DAAD Artists Fellowship, and West Berlin, 1978
Page was born in England in 1932. His father, Peter Carter-Page, was a humorist and cartoonist who worked as an animator at the Disney studios in Hollywood in the 1930s. The family moved to Canada where the young Page lived until the age of 27. Page moved back to Europe in 1959 and quickly found himself in the company of the international network of Fluxus artists, such as Robert Filliou, Dieter Roth, Dorothy Iannone, Daniel Spoerri, Ben Vautier, et al. His artwork embraced the sentiments of the movement. Namely, it's 'anti-art' stance, inherited from the Dadaists, and its emphasis on the event as an artwork (called a Happening or an Action Event). Page performed many Happenings, including one titled Guitar, which involved him in kicking his guitar with the help of an audience along the Mall for the ICA's Misfits concert. Other events involved Page making a chalk portrait drawing of Joseph Beuys, complete with begging bowl, on the pavement in front of the National Gallery.
By 1970, Page left the Fluxus movement and moved to Germany. He began to develop his own brand of cutting edge art and was one of the first artists to employ humour as a means of overtly challenging notions of 'good taste' in the art world. His Hey Whildon paintings stand as one of Page's alter-ego puppets that mocked and commented on 'art' while at the same time embodied the traditional techniques of painting. Page poses the question " Hey, Whildon, why has humour never replaced seriousness as the most respectable cultural attitude?" to which Whildon replies, "Because people can't fake it!"
Page's artwork continued to develop an overtly biting and satirical commentary on cultural pretensions. By 1987 he had "died and gone to Bluebeard" which involved him in dying his beard blue (executed by Mike Spike Froidl - see the appropriate painting here) and producing a series of paintings that appropriate elements from poster and propaganda art. His Bluebeard Amuseum further places Page at the forefront of contemporary art; by both mocking the notion of the Institution and placing himself at the centre of his art 'collection', Page challenges the very basis upon which power is assigned to private and state run and cultural organizations. One notable example is the painting Freedom is a Burning Brush that features the artist posing as the Statue of Liberty holding a paintbrush as a torch.
- 1962: The Door, London. Art Indicator, London. Guitar Piece, Misfits Concert, ICA, London. Simultaneous Document of the Space Flight of American Astronaut Walter Shira, London.
- 1963: Plant Piece, Little festival of New Music, London. Two Stones London and the Fluxus Festival, Nice. Wrap-up, BBC, New Comment, London. The Measurement of Motivation, London.
- 1965: Eclipse, Theatre Royal, Stratford, London.
- 1966: Krow 1, Destruction in Art Symposium, London. Beach Boxes, Scarborough. Merry Christmas '66, Leeds.
- 1967: Action Lecture on War, Cardiff. Protest March, Leeds.
- 1968: Professor Protozoa's Mini Majestic Bijou Road Show Yeah, City of London Festival. The Wild Man of Woburn, Woburn Abbey. Event for Liz, St. Valentine's Eve, Bradford. Concert of Experimental Music, Commonwealth Institute, London
- 1969: Art Intermedia, Cologne
- 1971: Eat Art Gallery, Düsseldorf
- 1972: Galerie Muller, Cologne
- 1973: Kunstverein, Cologne; Galerie Muller, Stuttgart; Galerie Gunter Sachs, Hamburg
- 1974: Galerie Foncke, Ghent; Salon de Mai, Paris (traveled to Braunschweig, Germany and Lijnbaacentrum, Rotterdam)
- 1975: Gallery Allen, Vancouver
- 1977: Junior Galerie, Goslar, Germany; Galerie Vallois, Paris
- 1979: Galerie Redmann, Sylt, Germany; Akademie der Künste, Berlin
- 1980: Galerie Redmann, Berlin; Galerie Redmann at ART'80, Basle; Kunsthalle, Darmstadt, Germany
- 1982: Kunstverein Augsburg, Germany
- 1993: Galerie Klewan Munich
- 1953: Young West Coast Painters, Vancouver
- 1954: West Coast Hard Edge, Seattle
- 1962: Festival of Misfits, Gallery One, London; Richmond Jazz Festival
- 1963: Ten Year Show, Gallery One, London
- 1964 Cross Section, City Museum, Leicester; About Round, University of Leeds
- 1965: 45th Summer Exhibition, Redfern Gallery, London; Structures Vivantes, Redfern Gallery, London; Then & Now, Park Square Gallery, Leeds.
- 1966: Form& Image, City Museum, Leeds; Destruction in Art, Symposium, Leeds
- 1967: Concrete/Spatial Poetry, Midland Group Gallery, Nottingham.
- 1969: Amadou in A, Antwerp
- 1970: Happenings & Fluxus, Kunstverein, Koln
- 1972: Szene Rhein-Rhur, Museum Folkwang, Essen; Documenta 5, Kassel; Freunde ded Museums Sammein (Collections of the Friends of the Museum), Museum Folkwang, Essen
- 1973: 6th International Triennial of Coloured Graphic Prints, Grenchen Galerie Muller, Koln.
1973 6th International Triennial of Coloured Graphic Prints, Grenchen, Switzerland 1976 Holz-Kunst-Stoff, Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden- Baden 1978 Museum des Geldes, Städtische Kunsthalle, Düsseldorf 1979 Ten Artists from the DAAD Programme, DAAD Galerie, Berlin 1989 Fluxus Fluxorum, Venice Biennale 1994 Flux Britannica, Tate Gallery, London 1996 Happenings and Fluxus, Track 16 Gallery, Santa Monica California Club Galerie, Leerer Beutel, Regensburg
Museum Folkwang, Essen; Stattsgalerie, Stuttgart; Art Bank, Ottawa; Australian National Collection, Canberra.
- Paul Gravett, (2007) Pulp Fiction, Hayward Gallery Publishing, Southbank Centre, London
- J. Gray, (1993) Action Art, Greenwood Press, CT, USA, ISBN 0-313-28916-6
- Karl-Heinz Hering, (1974) Kunstverein fur die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf, Verheyen & Schulte, Düsseldorf
- 'Art in a Brown Paper Bag', Weekend Magazine (Montreal), May, 1975
- 'I am a Unique Idiot', Marq de Villiers, Weekend Magazine, (Montreal), May, 1975
- 'Artist Dips His Brush in Canadian Wry', Art Perry, Vancouver Province, November, 1974
- 'Everybody Invited', John Anthony Thwaites, Art and Artists, London, November 1974
- 'Robin Page, Galerie Muller', G. Wirth, Das Kunstwerke, Baden-Baden, July 1973
- 'A Note on Robin Page', E.Lynn, Art International, Lugano, May 1973
- 'Robin Page: Bildparabeln, Exhibition Catalogue', Augsburg, 1982
- 'Mail Art: Communication a Distance', Jean-Marc Poinsot, Paris, 1971
- 'Robin Page', Flash Art, May 1972
Mail Art: Communication à Distance: Concept by Jean-Marc Poinsot, Paris, 1971 Robin Page: Bildparabeln, exhibition catalogue, Augsburg, 1982
"A Note on Robin Page" by E. Lynn in Art International (Lugano, Switzerland), May, 1973 "Robin Page, Galerie Müller" by G. Wirth in Das Kunstwerk (Baden-Baden), July, 1973 "Everybody Invited" by John Anthony Thwaites in Art and Artists (London), November, 1973 "Artist Dips His Brush in Canadian Wry" by Art Perry in Vancouver Province, November 1974 "I Am a Unique Idiot" by Marq de Villiers in Weekend Magazine (Montreal), February 1975 "Art in a Brown Paper Bag" in Weekend Magazine (Montreal), May 1975
"On the surface Robin Page in the archetypal frontier Canadian - big, brash, tough-talking, hard-drinking, gravel-voiced, complete with beard and blue jeans. Almost a caricature. He even hangs tree-felling saws on the walls of his Munich home. Yet beneath the gruff protective exterior lives a dedicated, articulate artist and teacher. Page's work presents a similar dichotomy. At first glance it is jokey, fun. But the artistic wit Page is only a tool he uses to make serious statements about art, life and communication. Son of Peter Carter-Page, humorist and cartoonist, who worked as an animator at the Walt Disney Studios in Hollywood in the thirties, he got his first lesson in abstraction from a Mickey Mouse Control Sheet, which said: "Remember, fellas, no matter which way Mickey's Head is turned, his ears are always shown in profile". After finishing with Art School in Vancouver he worked for a while on the Vancouver Province as a cartoonist before the lure of hard-edge and Europe brought him to the stimulus of Paris - so often an artist's catalyst - and London life gave him access to surrealism and the anti-art of Fluxus. Page was associated with Fluxus almost from the beginning, contributing major and minor Happenings throughout the 1960's. The 1970's found Page in Germany where he was able to function totally as an artist for the first time with his first one-man exhibition and artist-in-residence positions providing studio space and stability. Images, in good art, cannot merely represent themselves. The guitar in Page's work is one of his multi-layered autobiographical images which give depth and continuity to his work. Page played the guitar in a Victoria, B.C., band, and later supported himself by busking on the streets of Paris; the guitar was the central object to one of his earliest Happenings - at the Misfits Concert 1962, he kicked his Guitar from the ICA through the streets of London with the help of audience members, returning with a few fragments to the concert stage; later the guitar appears in a painting and an actual object in "The Blind Man" of 1970, one of his "Parables". The Parables began in Germany. They are Page's statement about art, conservation, politics, modern life. Central to each Parable is an action self-portrait. Painted from photographs, the painting is highly detailed and technically skilled.Page uses his own image as an object, raw material, just as he incorporates work of other artists - Picasso, Brancusi, Duchamp, De Chirico. A Charlie McCarthy-like dummy named Whildon (well-done?) acts as occasional comic to Page's straight guy. The action in the painting does not, however, remain on the two-dimensional canvas. It thrusts into space in front, completing the artist's statement with a three-dimensional object. Expectations of reality are fulfilled. Indications are that Page's Parables have all been written and new work is about to emerge from this artist who asks "Hey, Whildon, why has humour never replaced seriousness as the most respected cultural attitude?" Answer: " Because People can't fake it!"
Marlee Robinson, 1988"
The Origin of Bluebeard
For many years I used myself Robin Page, as the Model for Myself in pictures representing my thoughts. In 1987, on holiday from European canvas on an isolated Canadian island, I received a visitation from the Spirit of Bluebeard, which said it had seen in my work the ideal medium for its materialization. The Spirit offered me a deal: in exchange for the promise of eternal life, youth, health, wealth, and happiness I would abandon the identity of Robin Page and allow my Person, energy, talent, and creative thinking to be used as the host for the materialization of Bluebeard. Wow! I agreed immediately! Eternal life... Since our pact I have been walking around with this ridiculous blue beard on my face, thinking His thoughts and translating them into spirited Promoganda for his Amuseum. He insists that I work to elevate "My message and image out of the mind-fucking ghetto of the last hundred years of visual art to an aggressively heroic, independent, sublimely irreverent inspirational entertainment." Holy shit, is that all? I am not at liberty to disclose the full scope of his program, message, or ambitions, or His vision for mankind for the... for the next... for the next thousand years!! These will be revealed at appropriate times through the medium of pictures from the Bluebeard Amuseum Collection. I am authorized, though, to invite others to abandon their petty egos and join with all their energies, talents - and worldly goods - in celebrating the Greatness that is Bluebeard. (Naturally in exchange for the promise of eternal life, youth, etc.) So I, Bluebeard, say to you now what I said to Robin Page then: don't ask "What can the hamburger do for me? but rather "How can I be the beef?"