Ben Vautier: French artist dies aged 88 hours after his wife had stroke

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French artist Ben Vautier died by suicide hours after his wife passed from a stroke, according to reports. The funeral for the provocator and core member of the anti-art collective Fluxus has taken place in Nice.

The 88-year-old died just hours after his wife of 60 years, Annie. Both have been laid to rest in southern France.

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The funeral of Annie and Ben Vautier in a park of Nice, south-eastern France. Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty ImagesThe funeral of Annie and Ben Vautier in a park of Nice, south-eastern France. Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images
The funeral of Annie and Ben Vautier in a park of Nice, south-eastern France. Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images | VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Ben Vautier, who often worked under the moniker Ben, was known for his text-based paitings and active in the mail-art scene. In the 1960s he joined George Maciunas in the Fluxus movement, which blurred high and low art and followed the ethos that “everything is art”.

The New York Times report that Vautier’s children confirmed his death by suicide. “Unwilling and unable to live without her,” they wrote, “Ben killed himself a few hours later at their home.”

Vautier’s work is included in collections around the world including at MoMA in New York and Museo Reina Sofía in Madrid. The Centre Pompidou in Paris has Ben Vautier's Magasin ("Shop"), an enormous piece, on permanent display and an exhibition about Vautier’s works was held in Mexico City in 2022.

Away from art, Vaultier ran a record shop called Magazin between 1958 and 1973. In 1959 he founded the journal Ben Dieu.

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Samaritans If you want to speak to a loved one because you are concerned about them, but are not sure how to do it, then Samaritans also offer online advice on how to reach out and the best way to support someone at risk of suicide. You can also call the helpline on 116 123.

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