A German sculptor, draftsman, one of the leading theorists of Postmodernism, professor at the Academy of Arts in Dusseldorf, a public figure. Joseph Beuys was actively involved in issues of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy, which led to his expanded concept of fine art, the creation of social sculpture. The creator is considered one of the founders of such performance art as fluxus, which became popular in Germany. In this regard, Andy Warhol called Beuys the “ideal partner”.
The activities of Joseph Boyce cover four areas: material works in the traditional artistic sense (sculptures, paintings, drawings, art objects), staging and execution of actions and stock fluxes; works on the theory of art used in teaching, as well as socio-political activities (organization of parties, meetings with politicians, the Dalai Lama, etc.).
Beuys is world-famous as one of the most important innovators of 20th-century art. The largest collection of the master’s works is held at the Berlin Hamburger-Bahnhof Museum, which also houses the most comprehensive media archive. The museum is a center for the study of the artist’s work. From 2008 to 2014, the Joseph Beuys Theater was operating in Moscow.
– In the late 1940s and early 1950s, drawings of Joseph Beuys, who studied at the Düsseldorf Academy with Expressionist sculptor E. Matare, were similar in style to primitive rock paintings. The artist depicted moose, sheep, hares, other animals with a lead pin and watercolour. Among his sculptural works were custom-made tombstones.
– We can notice that Beuy’s art was influenced by Steiner’s anthroposophy and works of V. Lembrook, E. Barlach, consisting in the preference for attention to plastic forms and their laws, rather than to the task of the plot or external effect.
– In the early 1960s, Beuys became one of the founders of the Fluxus method as a specific variety of performance art. Numerous fluxus-actions of the artist were a synthetic action, similar to something like a circus parade-alle (as a teenager, Beuys ran away from home with a traveling circus for almost one year).
– Having secured his significant image (cloak, fishing vest, felt hat), Beuys used unusual and even shocking materials for art objects: fat (mostly lard), honey, felt and garbage. Usually, they were included in compositions with completed objects of industrial production.
– The “fat corner” became a cross-cutting motive in his monumental and chamber works. In the works of the artist’s late period, a sense of the dead-end estrangement of modern society from nature sharply emerged – the innovator tried to restore unity or at least bring “nature” closer to the magical, more often to the “shamanistic” level.
– Having begun to preach “social sculpture”, Beuys took art to an anthropological level reducing its aesthetic significance. Convinced that every person is an artist at their work, he encouraged everyone to participate in the world creative revolution. To do this, he came up with such techniques as an action on collective sweeping of streets or planting several thousand oak trees.