The theater of objects by Daniel Spoerri

Coming soon


2nd floor of MAMAC

Daniel Spoerri, La Sainte famille, 1986, de la série « Trésor des pauvres »
Centre Pompidou, Paris - Musée national d'art moderne - Centre de création industrielle - © Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/Philippe Migeat/Dist. RMN-Grand Palais/ Daniel Spoerri / Adagp, Paris, 2021

For the first time, the MAMAC dedicates a great exhibition to the artist Daniel Spoerri, member of the Nouveau Réalisme [New Realism], close to Fluxus, initiator of the Eat Art.

Avoiding the retrospective, this astonishing gives an account of how the artist rubs himself to the laws of chance, the values of anecdote and derision, with as a starting point: emotion. It articulates the artist’s research into a new form of art that aims to go beyond the field of representation in favour of an enlarged, participatory and collaborative sensory experience.

The exhibition is like a tour as surprising and fascinating as that of a fairground theatre with its traps and catches, its cabinets of curiosities and its banquets. With nearly 300 works and documents, it offers a labyrinthine journey through the art of appropriation, from his first snare pictures to the creation of unusual museums, including the art of the table and the kitchen.

If snare pictures have become popular, the exhibition unveils an astonishing and fascinating perspective of the artist’s work. The exhibition thus presents major historical works and archives from an original angle and works that are perhaps less well known but just as innovative and fascinating.

The project brings together over 1 200 m² outstanding loans from the great French public institutions (Centre Pompidou-Musée national d’art moderne – Centre de création industrielle, Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris, MAC/VAL-Musée d’art contemporain du Val-de-Marne) and from the Swiss National Library where are kept the artist’s archives; join major loans agreed by galleries, foundations and collectors from France and Europe.

The monumental work La Réplique de la Chambre no 13 de l’Hôtel Carcassonne (1998) is presented for the first time in France and several banquets imagined by Spoerri from 1963 onwards are organised in collaboration with the artist: a fine way of sharing the vitality of this mischievous work!

“Here we are, all fetishes caught in the object’s trap. “ Daniel Spoerri

A three-stage journey

Le Parc de bébé, 1961 « Faux tableau-piège » Collection Peruz, Milan © Adagp, Paris, 2021


A major ensemble of historic artworks offers a surreal journey on the gesture of petrifaction, overthrowing and assembly of objects. It is with the “Snare Pictures” that Daniel Spoerri joins in 1960 the New Realists. The firsts “Flea market carnivals” capture vertical displays of abandoned objects, revealing their poetic beauty. Spoerri becomes an objects matchmaker, enjoys the fruitful dialogue between borrowing an existing image and adding inquisitive objects. The artist’s many creative activities will be explored here through photographs, posters and magazines.

Action Restaurant Spoerri, Düsseldorf, 27 avril 1972 de la série « Tableau-piège » Collection privée, Milan Photo Fabio Mantegna © Adagp, Paris, 2021


Spoerri’s love of cooking, exchange and conviviality is depicted in his Snare Pictures and the history of the meals, restaurants and events he initiated through a wide range of archival documents (photographs, videos, menus). Homonymous dinners, Palindrome menus or meals made with a single ingredient (eggs or offal…), provoke surprise, delight or disgust among the guests. The exhibition offers an immersion in the artist’s first ephemeral restaurant at the Galerie J in Paris in 1963.

The atmosphere and events of the Restaurant Spoerri, which opened in Düsseldorf in 1968 and was attached to the Eat Art Gallery in 1970, constitute the convivial heart of the exhibition, which also includes his most famous banquets, such as the « Ultima Cena in Milan in 1970 ».

De la série « Cabinet anatomique », 2012 – Courtesy de l’artiste et de la galerie Anne Barrault, Paris – ©Adagp, Paris, 2021


Daniel Spoerri has a particular link to the collection. From the 1960’s, he creates archaeological reconstructions of places related to his life and work and then stages the immanent power of the most derisory and trivial objects, just like his « Sentimental Museums » and then the « Mama W.’s cabinet ». Art becomes a medicine, dealing with traps and illusions as with « The Breton Pharmacy », collection of one hundred and seventeen waters from sacred Breton water sources and the one hundred or so anatomical plates from the “Operating Medicine” series initiated in 1993, enhanced with objects that are sometimes incisive, sometimes poetic. Together, these surprising cabinets of curiosities reveal Humanity in all its precariousness and preciousness.

Daniel Spoerri

Daniel Spoerri avec un haut de forme transparent rempli d’oeufs, septembre 1964 Photo © Wieczorek / Ullstein bild via Getty Images

Born on 27 March 1930 in Romania, the artist took refuge in Switzerland and devoted himself to dance, theatre and concrete poetry, before initiating a plastic approach in 1959. While collecting iron scrap for his friend Jean Tinguely in Paris, he came up with the idea of sticking situations of objects vertically onto a support as they were, fixing in time the device of an instant due to chance.This was the birth of the Snare Pictures which immortalized flea market stalls, and then the remains of meals. From 1963, the artist set up ephemeral restaurants, opened his own restaurant in Düsseldorf and organised festive banquets, turning a moment of sharing into a destabilising collective work of art. His love for the most derisory objects leads him to create all sorts of unusual collections and museums.

Daniel Spoerri is an itinerant: he is constantly on the move throughout Europe. Today he shares his time between his garden in Tuscany, opened in the 1990s, his foundation/exhibition house near Vienna, opened in 2009, and his flat in the Austrian capital.

His work is internationally recognised. It was celebrated in 1972 by the CNAP in Paris and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. In 1990, the Centre Pompidou held a retrospective exhibition of his work, which travelled to Antibes, Munich, Vienna and Geneva. The Tinguely Museum in Basel in 2001, the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 2002, the Pecci Centre in Prato in 2007 and the Abattoirs in Toulouse in 2017 have all held major exhibitions and events. Present in the collections of the MAMAC, his work is the subject of a major exhibition in Nice for the first time.

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Exhibition curator:

Rébecca François, conservation officer

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