An Anecdoted Topography of Chance

An Anecdoted Topography of Chance is arguably the most important and entertaining “Artist’s Book” of the post-war period. This edition is the definitive appearance to date of a unique collaborative work by four artists associated with the FLUXUS and Noveau Réalisme movements, and is substantially larger than the three previous versions published in France, the USA and Germany.

What is the Topography? Hard to explain an idea so simple yet so brilliantly executed. Following a rambling conversation with his dear friend Robert Filliou, Daniel Spoerri one day mapped the objects lying at random on the table of his room, adding a rigorously scientific description of each. These objects subsequently evoked associations, memories, anecdotes; not only from the original author, but from his friends as well: a beguiling creation was born. Many of the principal participants of FLUXUS make an appearance (and texts by Higgins, Jouffroy, Kaprow, Restany, and Tinguely are included, among others). It is a novel of digressions in the manner of Tristram Shandy or Robbe-Grillet; it’s a game, a poem, an encyclopaedia, a cabinet of wonders: a celebration of friendship and creativity.

The Topography personifies (and pre-dates) the whole FLUXUS spirit and constitutes one of the strangest and most compelling insights into the artist’s life. From out of the banal detritus of the everyday a virtual autobiography emerges: of four perceptive, witty and eloquent members of the human species.

The map of the table-top has been reproduced as a fold-out at the back of the book.