Joseph Beuys

Battery (1959)

About this artwork

This collage refers to the artist's interest in sources of energy and power. A battery can be either a portable source of energy, or an instrument that converts chemical to electrical energy. Used as a motif, the battery would have appealed to the artist for its capacity to store or transform energy and in its ability to convert one type of energy to another. Beuys later used the concept of the battery in his series of sculptural works called 'Fonds'.

see media
  • title: Battery
  • accession number: AR00110
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1959
  • measurements: 24.00 x 25.20 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.