Michael Buthe

Year and place of birth: 1944, Sonthofen, Germany Location: +1994, Cologne, Germany

During his short but intense career from the late 1960s to the early 1990s, the German artist Michael Buthe made textile works, drawings, a film, paintings, photographs, collages, diaries and assemblage sculptures. Buthe has already had a sizeable exhibition in Ghent, in 1984. Called ‘Inch Allah’, it was on at the Museum of Contemporary Art, the predecessor of S.M.A.K. During ‘Chambres d’Amis’ (1986), the controversial city-wide exhibition that signalled Jan Hoet’s international breakthrough, the venue with the work by Buthe was one of the most appreciated.

From an international point of view, Buthe’s participation in such legendary exhibitions as ‘When Attitudes Became Form’ (1969) and ‘Documenta V’ (1972) was important. These exhibitions were mounted by the renowned Swiss curator Harald Szeemann at a time when such concepts as ‘process’, ‘transience’, ‘immateriality’ and ‘attitude’ were important in the creation of and thinking on art. It was the period of Conceptual Art, Performance Art, Body Art, Land Art, site-specific art, Process Art and Arte Povera. At ‘Documenta V’, Szeemann gave the title ‘Individual Mythology’ to a part of the exhibition devoted to the subjective worlds of such artists as Christian Boltanski, Paul Thek and Hermann Nitsch. Work by Michael Buthe was also shown in this section.

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