Robert Filliou: “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense” With The Company Of James Coleman – Barry Flanagan – John Latham – Tony Morgan

One of the most innovative artists of the second half of the 20th century is given his first solo exhibition in London at Richard Saltoun Gallery. Filliou’s work challenged the role of art in everyday life through conceptual strategies and innovative techniques, based on performance, chance, wit and play. The process-based approach of Filliou, united with his pursuit for an anti-individualistic art that could happen at any time and place, brought him close to George Maciunas and the other members of Fluxus.

The namesake of his exhibition is explained as deriving from a ball held at the court of King Edward III, during which the garter of Joan of Kent slipped down to her ankle. As others laughed, the King picked up the piece of underwear and tied it around his leg, stating “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense” (“Shame be to him who thinks evil of it”). This phrase then became the motto of the British chivalric Order of the Garter, found today on the cover of any British passport.

This joyful and radical journey includes pieces such as the Optimistic Boxes, Pink Spaghetti, Hand Shows, Frozen Exhibition, the Whispered History Of Art, God, a peace demonstration, Unmade Portraits, a martial arts show, the Most Curious Invention of the Gaga Yogi, unrevealed overseas guests, special video sessions and the Deathless Dying of the World.

These works form part of a life’s work which has included the Legitimate Gallery, a miniature art gallery contained inside the artist’s hat; the Art’s Birthday, dedicated to the birth of Art; the Permanent Creation, uniting reflection and action to creativity; the Constant Festival, an imaginary art network and the Republic of Genius where one’s talent is not considered as a relevant factor to those who practice art.

Robert Filliou: “Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense” With The Company Of James Coleman – Barry Flanagan – John Latham – Tony Morgan, until 30 January 2015, Richard Saltoun Gallery, 111 Great Titchfield Street, London W1W 6RY.

1. Robert Filliou, Hand Show, 1967.