The Propositions: Performance Art from 1966

My first Happenings took place in Gloucestershie in 1966.  The work comprised public announcements that there would be a Happening at a specified time and place, always in remote rural locations. Faced with the then obvious question, ‘what is a happening?’ the answer given was ‘if you’re not there you won’t find out.’ Large crowds materialised including police attendance on each occasion.

It was from Stuart Brisley that I learnt to question the terms of everything with which I was engaged. Like John Latham, Stuart called his works Events, regarding sculptures as events in time rather than objects in space, while then contemporary German artists called theirs Actions.  Soon after, I chose to call my work Propositions since I too found the term Art then carried too many inappropriate associations of passive consumerism. For me art did something – for me it proposes something new – and that needed to be reflected in how it was described.

Copyright © Timothy Emlyn Jones 2020