Joseph Beuys

Tunnel (Cathode Rays) Felt-Room Action (1964)

About this artwork

As elsewhere in Beuys's drawings, here we see a sheet of notes in pencil and ink which have been obscured by thick sweeps of dark grey oil paint. This is frustrating for the viewer as we can see only the title and a few glimpses of what is written on the page, yet the covering of paint was a deliberate act by Beuys. It may have been his intention for the paint to 'absorb' the sentiments on the page. The work does not appear to relate to an 'action' which the artist performed, but may be a plan for an intended 'action'.

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  • title: Tunnel (Cathode Rays) Felt-Room Action
  • accession number: AR00118
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1964
  • measurements: 23.60 x 19.50 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.