Sun and Pylon (1946)
About this artwork
At the heart of much of Beuys's artistic output lies an interest in sources of heat and energy. This is demonstrated in his sculptural work and installations through the use of fat and felt as materials. In this painting, the artist depicts the sun and a pylon, two sources of both heat and power. Beuys often incorporated unusual materials alongside watercolour in his paintings. Here he has used iron chloride, a chemical which also represents warmth as it gives off heat during the chemical process of hydrolysis, a reaction caused by water.
- title: Sun and Pylon
- accession number: AR00629
- artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
- gallery: In Storage
- object type: Work on paper
- materials: Graphite, watercolour and chloride on paper
- date created: 1946
- measurements: 20.80 x 29.70 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.
- photographer: Antonia Reeve
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.