Joseph Beuys

Badezimmer der Circe [Bathroom of Circe] (1954 - 1958)

About this artwork

Circe is a figure from Greek mythology, sometimes depicted as a witch or sorceress. She transformed her enemies into animals by giving them magic potions, a fact which reflects Beuys's interest in shamanism. This work, which is a collage of paper on board, also shows the artist's interest in the Irish writer James Joyce. Joyce's epic novel 'Ulysses', contains an episode in the second part called 'Circe', and from 1958 to 1961 Beuys wrote two new chapters for 'Ulysses'. Joyce is believed by some critics to be the addressee of the group of drawings Beuys assembled called 'The secret block for a secret person in Ireland'.

see media
  • title: Badezimmer der Circe [Bathroom of Circe]
  • accession number: AR00636
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Watercolour
  • date created: 1954 - 1958
  • measurements: 21.30 x 30.40 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
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.