Artist, curator, poet, dancer and publisher Daniel Spoerri was born in 1930 in Galati, Romania. In 1941, after Romania allied itself with the Axis Powers, his father was arrested and later murdered in a Nazi death camp. In 1942, Spoerri’s mother fled with Daniel and his five siblings to her native Switzerland, resettling with an uncle in Zurich.
In 1952, Spoerri began studying classical dance in Paris but returned to Switzerland two years later to become lead dancer at the Stadttheater in Bern. In 1957, he accepted a position as theater assistant to the director at the Landestheater in Darmstadt, Germany. While there, he began a series of collaborations with the writer and director Claus Bremer. These include material, a journal of concrete poetry that the pair edited from 1957-60, and a form of experimental theater, sometimes described as “dynamic theater” or “autotheater,” which aimed to turn spectators into active participants.
In 1959, Spoerri launched Edition MAT as an extension of his established interests in movement and audience interaction. The following year, he created the first of his iconic “snare pictures,” which freeze arbitrary collections of everyday objects, often relating to food, into wall-mounted assemblages; and was among nine original signatories to the Nouveau Réalisme manifesto. In 1962, Spoerri published his “Anecdoted Topography of Chance,” a detailed map of items laying on a table in a Paris hotel room, which is now considered a classic of Fluxus literature.
Over the next several decades, Spoerri continued creating works and performances relating to food, a practice he broadly defines as “Eat Art.” He also published “A Gastronomic Itinerary” (1967), a culinary diary of life on the Greek island of Symi, and in 1970 established the Restaurant Spoerri in Düsseldorf. Throughout his long career, Spoerri has maintained a connection to the core principles of transformation, exchange and audience activation that inform his entire oeuvre.
He currently lives and works in Vienna.