Joseph Beuys.

The space curator
26 March – 18 July 2021

Joseph Beuys was a charismatic artist with a creative will that did not stop at the boundaries of institutions and museums. His actions therefore often took place outside the museum, because ultimately he was concerned with shaping society through art. If Beuys nevertheless worked in museum spaces, he appropriated the spaces in a way that radically broke with the conventions of the institution.

On the occasion of Joseph Beuys' 100th birthday, the Staatsgalerie is dedicating an exhibition to the artist that explores his ways of presenting his works. The starting point is the Beuys Room in the Staatsgalerie, which the artist himself set up in 1984.

The room has remained unchanged to this day, so that visitors experience Beuys' original theme of the juxtaposition of two poles, the "chaotic-willed" versus the "thought-formed". There is a permanent flow of energy between the two, which Beuys understood to be transmitted to the viewer and to stimulate him or her to become aware of his or her own creative abilities in social, mental or artistic form.

Beuys' presentations aimed at a new relationship between work, viewer and museum space. He is essentially concerned with dissolving the distance between work and viewer by making the visitor a part of the work by walking around objects and entering installations. The museum space is transformed into a setting carefully orchestrated by Beuys for this experience of immediacy and participation.

The name Beuys is closely associated with the Staatsgalerie. In addition to his own spatial ensemble, the artist also intervened spectacularly in the presentation of the collection at the opening of the New State Gallery by placing the world-famous figurines of Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet on high pedestals. A deliberate, provocative act by the artist-curator Beuys, which the exhibition will re-historicise.

The exhibition traces Beuys' sensitive work between the work, the viewer and the museum space, also by means of photographs, film footage and objects. The historical film recordings, which show the artist at work in the museum and on individual objects and environments, give visitors an impression of Beuys' artistic work and are at the same time important testimonies to the genesis of the exhibited works.

With the kind support of

Logo Wüstenrot Stiftung