Joseph Beuys

Zu dem Vortrag: Der Soziale Organismus - ein Kunstwerk, Bochum 2.03.1974 [For the lecture: The social organism - a work of art, Bochum, 2nd March... (1974)

About this artwork

Beuys began to use blackboards in his early 'actions' when working with the Fluxus group in the early 1960s. They were an effective way of transmitting information in the lectures he gave, which became an increasingly important part of his later work. This is the only blackboard in the ARTIST ROOMS Collection. Taken from a lecture given in the West German city of Bochum, the artist seems to be showing how nature should be at the centre of our society. The circles and lines connecting animal, man and nature (represented by sketches of the sun and mountains) support Beuys's belief that we must listen to our natural instincts.

see media
  • title: Zu dem Vortrag: Der Soziale Organismus - ein Kunstwerk, Bochum 2.03.1974 [For the lecture: The social organism - a work of art, Bochum, 2nd March 1974]
  • accession number: AR00621
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: On Loan
  • object type: Installation
  • date created: 1974
  • measurements: 100.00 x 130.0 x 2.00 cm (framed: 107.10 x 136.90 x 7.00 cm)
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
  • copyright: © DACS 2016.
This artwork is part of Artist Rooms

Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys

German artist Beuys believed that art was integral to everyday life. His own art was shaped by an experience early in his life. As a Luftwaffe pilot during the war, Beuys was shot down over the Crimea and was saved by nomadic Tartars. Barely alive, he was wrapped in felt and fat which preserved his body heat, and taken to safety on sledges pulled by dogs. This incident, and these particular elements, informed much of his art, which has a redemptive, mystical and ritualistic character. Central to his work were his 'Actions', which involved teaching, audience discussion and performance. The recurrent themes were social and political. Associated with the ecological movement - he was a founder member of the Green Party - he also had a strong influence on German politics.