70 Years of Berliner Festspiele


Allan Kaprow und Wolf Vostell,
Berliner Festwochen 1976
A film by Ilona Schrumpf about KAHV (Kaprow Activity Happening Vostell)

Part of the Berliner Festwochen 1976, organised by the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein

Following ‘Aktionen der Avantgarde’ in 1973 and 1974, the founders of happenings in the USA and Europe, Allan Kaprow and Wolf Vostell, came together once again in 1976 to create two new actions for the Berliner Festwochen. “Happening x Zwei” illustrates the different approaches of the two artists and also questions the participants of both actions.

The face of a female read person, whose lower half of the face is covered by the back view of an undressed male read person in the foreground of the image. Both people are standing in the rain.

Tabea Blumenschein in the Happening „Rain“ by Wolf Vostell in: Ilona Schrumpf, “Happening x Zwei. KAHV (Kaprow Acitivity Happening Vostell)”, Berliner Festwochen 1976. Film, colour, sound. Film still

© RBB | Allan Kaprow Estate | Courtesy Hauser & Wirth | The Wolf Vostell Estate

  • 7 min

“We’re two old happeners and thought it might be fun to present our lengthy experience of this form together in Berlin and invite our friends along. Taking part in a happening is always better than reading or talking about it.” (Allan Kaprow)

By the mid-1970s happenings had once again disappeared from the pages of the sensationalist press and was in a state of internal transformation. Allan Kaprow, who had first introduced the term “happening”, now uses the less inflammatory term “activity”. In “Frames of Mind” he reveals, based on tasks that are performed by groups, different modes of action of social role formation, societal norm structures, and interpersonal behaviour. By contrast, Wolf Vostell enables in “Regen” the symbolic element of art and artistic perception to manifest itself in everyday life as a psycho-aesthetic event in which volunteers occupy a liminal space between the beauty of art and the horrors of world history.

© RBB | Allan Kaprow Estate | Courtesy Hauser & Wirth | The Wolf Vostell Estate