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SALTO ARTE

XX

In the early 1970s, the Belgian collector Isi Fiszman was closely involved in radical left-wing movements organized around the journals published by Jean-Claude Garot. When Garot entered into a financial crisis, Isi Fiszman offered him to create an artistic event to support his publications. For Fiszman, this was a unique opportunity to combine his political engagement with his artistic interests.

Isi Fiszman immediately associated his friend Harald Szeemann to the project which took place at the Museum of Ixelles in 1975. The participation of Szeemann was crucial because it brought an international exposure to the event. Szeemann proposed the title Je/Nous. Wij/Ik to translate the fundamental idea of the place of the individual within the society but also the personal mythology of the artist.

Many well-known artists played a role in the event: Carl Andre, Ben, James Lee Byars, Walter de Maria, on Kawara, Penck, Bernd Lohaus, Spoerri, Toroni, Christo, Sol Lewitt, etc. The exhibition was inaugurated on May 23, 1975 with an accompanying exhibition catalogue published a few weeks later. On the same day, to give an extra participatory dimension to the show, the curators organized a circus performance, entitled Salto Arte, in a tent mounted on the nearby Place Flagey and in which several artists participated: Panamarenko was dressed as a Chinese, Boltanski played a contortionist, Beuys was the target to Katharina Sieverding who was throwing knives with Kaka Lemoine. Everything was going well until the smoke of a firework by PIerre-Alain Hubert forced the public to leave the tent.

This 40' video made in 1975 documents all these intense moments of Salto Arte. But what the video doesn't show and which the former director of the Ixelles Museum Jean Coquelet later revealed in an interview was the tension and pressure that weighed on the event: the mayor Albert Demuyter had indeed warned the organizers that the circus would immediately be shut down by the police would any scandalous performance take place.