Joseph Beuys

598px joseph beuys filtz tv by lothar wolleh

1921 - 1986

Born in Krefeld (DE), died in Düsseldorf (DE).

"Art alone makes life possible – this is how radically I should like to formulate it. I would say that without art man is inconceivable in physiological terms... I would say man does not consist only of chemical processes, but also of metaphysical occurrences. The provocateur of the chemical processes is located outside the world. Man is only truly alive when he realizes he is a creative, artistic being... Even the act of peeling a potato can be a work of art if it is a conscious act." [Joseph Beuys, interviewed by Willoughby Sharp, 1969]

Joseph Beuys was one of the most significant and influential artist of the twentieth century, who expanded the scope of art into the realms of politics, society and ecology.

Joseph Beuys worked in a way that was contrary to the logic and hegemony of Modernism. Using his Eurasienstab performance as a starting point, the exhibition examines how Beuys’ use of the notion of ‘Eurasia’ was a part of his Anti-Modern sentiment, against greater rationality, individualism and the Eurocentric world-view. With a vision that was more attuned to cultural depth, mysticism and to nature, Beuys wanted to remove the distinctions between “East” and “West”. This was also echoed in his activism, with an approach to politics though a belief in discursiveness, latent energy and direct action.

Beuys was active in Antwerp during the 1960s and 1970s through his relationship with the seminal gallery Wide White Space. Amongst his numerous exhibitions, it is here that he also made his performance Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff) in collaboration with Henning Christiansen on 9 February 1968.

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