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TV-Décoll/age no. 1 (Vostell, Wolf), 1958Concetto spaziale (Fontana, Lucio), 1949Nein – 9 Decollagen (Vostell, Wolf), 1963
Sun in Your Head (Vostell, Wolf), 1963

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a symbolic coronation, also kitted out with turkey steaks and finally buried in a grave dug with a pneumatic drill and a shovel.[23] The associations extend from custard-pie slapstick to clear echoes of religious depictions of the Crucifixion and Entombment.

It is clear in both the exhibition and the action that Vostell is relating the TV image to the panel picture. The act of ‹dé-collage› is applied equally to posters, magazines, pictures on canvas and the TV image. The link between Vostell's TV works and painting can be seen even more clearly in his first drafts for television pieces, which he himself dates inconsistently to 1958 or 1959: «Clean white canvas—behind that 5 television sets installed var. sizes—television right next to canvas—Interference is built into the televisions so that there are constant changes.»[24] Along with a rough sketch, this note serves as a basis for several later versions, as shown for example at the major Vostell retrospective in 1992 as «TV-Decoll/age no. 1.» The incision in painting's virgin canvas quite obviously relates directly to Lucio Fontana's «concetto spaziale.» But unlike Fontana, who is looking into the unknown, Vostell already senses that the flickering electronic


image is waiting behind painting's broken surface. It is not known whether Vostell knew Fontana's Manifesto on television. But the destructive thrust in Vostell's TV decollage seems much more to be continuing Debord's media criticism, which was quite prepared to terrorize the public with its message.[25] Then in 1963, at the «Nein—9 Decollagen» happening in Wuppertal, Vostell even staged a public ritual shooting of a television set showing a program. At another point in this event, which was organized as a bus tour, participants were taken into a cinema with a filmed TV decollage showing on its screen, accompanied by wailing sirens, while people lay motionless on the cinema floor. This film, «Sun in your head,» can be seen as the first artwork using recorded moving images of television. But what about this assertion by Vostell: «I am the first artist in the world who has been using television sets for images since 1958»?[26]

Paik or Vostell?

As I have said, in about 1962–1964, several artists simultaneously hit on the idea of using the television set as artistic material. It is missing the point to ask

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