Joseph BEUYS

[1921 - 1986]

PLIGHT Element [1985]

  • felt roll filled with loose felt padding 147.0×330.0×41.0cm

[Audio Guide]

The sound of construction work had been a nuisance for an art gallery in London, and in order to solve this problem, the German artist Joseph Beuys tightly packed the gallery from floor to ceiling with these felt rolls. As a result the gallery was enveloped in stillness, and was utterly transformed into a warm space. In such a manner Beuys expanded the concept of art, and has become known as an artist who experiments with solving modern problems and healing historical tensions.     Each of these rolls is packed on the inside with loose felt in a manner that is suggestive of the flesh beneath human skin. If one looks closer, the brown shade of the felt rolls is actually surprisingly colorful. Through the compression of various textile fibers into a chaotic felt textile, Beuys hoped a creative energy would be generated.

Jockey Cap [1985]

  • felt hat, fat, pigment, newsprint 14.5×25.5×17.5cm

[Audio Guide]

The artist has cut his favorite hat into the shape of a jockey’s cap and filled it with fat. Beuys considered fat to be a highly suitable material for sculpture, since it becomes malleable at the same temperature of a human body. Additionally, the appearance of the pliable fat is reminiscent of things like the fluctuations and flexibility of human emotions. However, there is a concern that the hat might tip over. Isn’t this like the danger of being thrown from a horse? If that is the case, we could surmise that the red pigment that has been layered over two pieces of newsprint in the shape of crosses represents both Beuy’s position of critical judgment on contemporary human civilization as well as his attempts to heal it. Made in the year prior to his death, this small but powerful work economically conveys Beuys’ outlook on humanity.

Vitrine: Multiples [1969-85]

  • felt, tin, gear grease, screwdriver, glass bottle, cork, plastic sheet, gelatine, beeswax, steel, hoe, wood and glass vitrine on steel base 205.7×219.5×49.5cm

Vitrine: Throne of Ghengis Khan [1965-83]

  • cloth, vinyl tube, iron, leather thong, felt, sulpher, pigment, fat, wood and glass vitrine on steel base 205.7×219.5×49.5cm

Vitrine: Field Drawing [1963-83]

  • graphite crucible, dried tares, hoe, shovel, hand sickle, wood and glass vitrine on steel base 205.7×209.5×49.5cm

Collection Audio Guide