Joseph Beuys och sökandet efter den egentliga livskraften

Ann-Charlotte Weimarck

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The study presents an ideational background for interpretations of some central works by Joseph Beuys (192I-1986): "Badewanne/Bath Tub" (1960), "Gemeinschaftspaten/Communion Spade" (1964), "Das Rudel/The Pack" (1969), "Aktion im Moor/Moss Action" (1971), "Zeige deine Wunde/Show Your Wounds" (1976), "grosser ausgesogener Liegender im Jenseits wollend Gestrechter"/approximately “big gaunt reclining figure wanting to stretch himself out in the life to come" (1982).

The study opens with a discussion of the shamanistic world view, whose relation to Beuys’ iconography and his role as an artist is highly relevant and merits investigation. It is evident that the shamanistic conception of the world stimulated his artistic and existential imagination, giving him knowledge and experiences with which he charged his works. In many ways these prove to be directly connected to a world view inspired by shamanism. Beuys changed and transformed the analogous thinking of the shamanistic tradition as well as its specific tools and attributes. He also used this tradition to find ways of changing his own role as an artist.

Seen from the perspective outlined above, it could be argued that the works discussed in the present study prove to be created as tools in a struggle for change and liberation, both as regards Beuys’ own life and his existential needs and as regards humanity at large; they are all in a sense instruments of a transcendental longing.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherBrutus Östlings Bokförlag Symposion
Number of pages95
ISBN (Print)91-7139-242-4
Publication statusPublished - 1995

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Art History


  • Joseph Beuys
  • interpretation


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