1 April - 2 June 2010 @ The Hunterian Gallery, Glasgow
This exhibition, staged as a collaborative venture between the Hunterian and GI 2010 (Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art) will be the first opportunity for Glasgow audiences to see a substantial selection of the work of Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986), who remains, over 20 years after his death, one of the most influential figures in post-war European Art. Beuys’s work developed around ‘constellations of ideas’. It could incorporate any kind of material or object to represent these ideas, particularly, from the 1950s onwards, felt, fat and copper. The Hunterian’s own collections offer a rich context to the work of an artist whose substantial and complex output bridged art and science, weaving together themes including archaeology, geology, anthropology, zoology, myth, history, intuition, medicine, energy and communication.
The exhibition includes some of the artist’s works on paper, together with a small selection of additional works, notably his ‘vitrines’.
Fat Chair 1964-85
displayed: 1830 x 1550 x 640 mm
Model for a Felt Environment 1964
Entwurf fur ein Filzenvironment
displayed: 1840 x 1680 x 840 mm object (vitrine): 1840 x 1680 x 840 mm object (felt object): 630 x 700 x 220 mm
Brightly-Lit Stag Chair 1957-71
Collage and pencil on paper
support: 1390 x 963 mm
on paper, unique
'Although Beuys began this collage in 1957, it was not finished until 1971. The chair is similar to the subject of the artist's 1972 sculpture 'Backrest for a fine-limbed person (Hare-type) of the 20th Century A.D'. This is a cast iron impression of a child's plaster corset, made as a multiple. However, the striding feet of the chair in this collage give it a human aspect, making it seem almost confident and self-possessed. The curved back of the chair is echoed in the lightbulb shape at the top of the image. The stag, in Beuys's bestiary, guided the soul in its journey to the afterlife.'
Pregnant Woman with Swan 1959
Schwangere und Schwan
Oil and watercolour on paper
support: 276 x 214 mm
on paper, unique
'The tiny swan in this painting looks as if it is swimming serenely inside the woman, replacing the foetus inside her pregnant body. The drawing combines male and female elements, with the phallic nature of the swan's neck. Beuys had been fascinated with swans since childhood. A sculpture of a large golden swan sat on top of the tower of Schwanenburg castle (Swan Castle) in his home town of Cleves, and was visible from his bedroom window while he was growing up. With his interest in language, the artist would also have delighted in the similarity between the German words for pregnant woman (Schwangere) and swan (Schwan).'