Contribution to a critique of the research on Joseph Beuys

Project: Research

Layman's description

My project begins with a critique of the art historical research devoted to Beuys’s work. I examine how he developed his art after World War II and afterwards in the light of his experiences as a soldier in the war. My working hypothesis is that these experiences of the war were crucial to him, and I examine how and in what way these experiences were expressed and manifested in his work.

Once again, my students' questions are the starting point of my research on Beuys. Various discussions I had with my students were important to the coming into being of my last book, Joseph Beuys och sökande efter den egentliga livskraften (Joseph Beuys and the search for the real life force) (1995). The study was triggered by a study visit to Louisiana in Humlebæk where a special work of Beuys was discussed in detail.
Different issues raised on various teaching occasions have often been challenging and important to me and have put my analytical and critical mind to the test in my professional role as a teacher. Students' questions have often ignited my creative energy and also acted as a kind of signpost toward what I perceive as the essential core issues. I have continued to study the exhibitions of Beuys’s works since 1994 with various student groups in the permanent collections in Berlin, Hamburg, Mönchengladbach, Kassel and Darmstadt.
My new research question has its true basis in a study visit with students to the permanent exhibition at Hessisches Landesmuseum in Darmstadt – Block Beuys, an exhibition arranged by Beuys himself. The discussion initiated by the students themselves constitutes the starting point for my new research. The problem area for the study is Beuys’s use of fat and felt as art materials; it was these materials that particularly ignited the students' interest.
StatusFinished
Effective start/end date2010/01/012011/12/31

Participants