On Friendship/(Collateral Damage) IVHow to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist
[The usefulness of continuous measurement of the distance between Nostalgia and Melancholia]
(September 2021 - February 2023)
A critical project concerning post-war artist Joseph Beuys
Created by Joseph Sassoon Semah, curator Linda Bouws
© Stichting Metropool Internationale Kunstprojecten
On Friendship / (Collateral Damage) IV - How to Explain Hare Hunting to a Dead German Artist
Joseph Beuys (1921, Krefeld - 1986, Dsseldorf) is one of the most influential post-war German artists, who became particularly famous for his performances, installations, lectures and Fluxus concerts. He has been honored as a great artist throughout his life. Even 36 years after his death, he is still regarded as one of the most important post-war German artists, as can be seen in the many exhibitions and other activities that took place in the large-scale celebration 'Beuys 2021. 100 years'.
Beuys is best known as a freedom-loving and cosmopolitan artist, revered by his Soziale Plastik based on the idea that everything can be art, and everyone is an artist, Jeder mensch ist ein Kunstler; his involvement with Die Grünen, the ecological movement, and the importance of art for society. He manifested himself as the new post-war Messiah, as a healer, as a shaman for the Germans, to free himself from being a perpetrator and to free the Germans of their guilt.
Beuys mythologized his war history as a National Socialist and Germany's problematic and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this way he wanted to make a new world possible in which he could transform nazism, fascism, WWII and the nation trauma into his own fake biography via his artworks. During this 100-year's event little of these controversial aspects of Beuys' work, values and ideas were focused upon. As part of this celebration, it is about time to adOd a more critical eye on Beuys' work and his relationship to Germany's post-war history.
Beuys' past with the Hitler Jugend and his trivialisation of National Socialism, his self-mythologising as an artist-shaman who was allegedly saved by Tatars with fat and felt in 1944 after a plane crash in Crimea, the anthroposophical influence of Steiner on his thinking and works, the secret meaning of his symbols, his role as a messianic martyr and savior of post-war Germany, his 'ecological' significance have been explored in our project. In short: Who is Beuys truly? How should we interpret Beuys in the future?
Joseph Beuys and Joseph Sassoon Semah, two ex-soldiers, two artists.
We organized activities in and outside the immediate world of the visual arts in order to create a platform and gain access to a wider audience, partly because (German) art museums appeared to be wary of a stain on the reputation of Joseph Beuys. As our project demonstrates, there is need to approach his thinking and art with skepticism.
Metropool International Art Projects
Contact: Linda Bouws
Mob +31(0) 620132195