Felipe Ehrenberg

“…ne•ol•o•gist \nē’älejest\ [prob. fr. F néologiste, fr. neologisme]: one who invents or uses new words or forms; one who makes innovations in language.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word neologist made its debut in 1785, and its usage peaked in the early 1800s.  By proclaiming himself a neologist (sometime in 1970-71) —a term readily accepted by art historians and critics familiar with his work—artist Felipe Ehrenberg (b. 1943, Mexico City) resuscitated the term and breathed into it a modern meaning.  This term is the most appropriate when describing an artist who is best known to be a pioneer of experimental art, an artist who has made innovations not only in written language as a respected cultural critic and journalist, but also in the language of the visual, where he has focused on both letter and phrase.

A closer examination of Ehrenberg’s neologisms is in order.  He was an artist who moved comfortably between drawing, painting, printmaking, artists’ books, installations, and performance art.

Among his early innovations are his co-founding of Beau Geste Press (also called Libro Acción Libre) in England in 1968, his participation in the conceptual artists’ group Fluxus, his integration of political/humanitarian activism and art and his involvement in the Mexican Grupos movement of the 1970s.  These innovations privilege a non-object oriented art in favor of an art of ideas, whose praxis wreaks havoc to an art market that depends upon the selling or promotion of art as a commodity. Ehrenberg’s approach to an art of ideas also strives to introduce “ethics” into a Western conceptual art equation primarily focused on matters of formalism and self-referentialism. He strongly believed that artists should actively acknowledge the socio-political context in which they find themselves, and perhaps even view “the practice of art as an element of social transformation.”…

…Ehrenberg began his artistic career as a painter and draughtsman, and his early mentors included muralist José Chávez Morado and avant-garde artist Mathias Goeritz. Following the political turmoil in Mexico, he emigrated to England in 1968. Once there he was a founder of Beau Geste Press.

In the mid-1970s Ehrenberg returned to Mexico and took part in the Mexican group movement, when a number of Mexican artists began working collectively staging performances—often on the street—and publishing alternative art publications that reflected their response to numerous socio-political issues occurring in Mexico and other countries in Latin America.

In the 1980s Ehrenberg led self-publishing workshops for artists, students, and teachers in Mexico giving them the tools to publish works reflecting the needs and interests of Mexico’s distinct regions. He organized a similar project for Nicaraguans rebuilding their society after the fall of the dictator Somoza. In addition, with the establishment of a program called H2O Talleres de Comunicación, Ehrenberg helped to establish 800 new community presses and over 1,000 community murals throughout Mexico.

In the 1990s Ehrenberg published elaborate books with strong sculptural elements. He also created a series of installations and performance pieces focusing on border politics between the U.S. and Mexico in the age of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), California’s Proposition 187, and the Zapatista liberation uprising. His work in the late 1990’s reflected the theme of violence, and his more recent work includes the creation of dynamic exhibitions on the Internet.”

  • Kam, Vanessa. Felipe Ehrenberg: A Neologist’s Art and Archive. Stanford University


In 2017 the CAP Museum Burdeos, French, presents Beau Geste Press exhibition. The 15th may, 2017, Ehrenberg dies in Cuernavaca city, Mexico.


His first solo exhibition in Spain was in Freijo Gallery (Madrid), EHRENBERG 67’//15′