Joseph Beuys

Astral Chemical Goddess (1974)

About this artwork

At the centre of this drawing is a figure, who we can assume is the Goddess. To her left and right, a pair of hares extend their paws tentatively towards the woman, as if to keep her anchored to the ground. For Beuys, the hare was connected with fertility and the earth; in the same way he felt women were also. He depicted both women and hares as means of connection between earthly and unearthly worlds. Here, 'Astral' suggests a heavenly link and making the figure as a Goddess highlights the artist's interest in primitive rituals and tribal magic.

see media
  • title: Astral Chemical Goddess
  • accession number: AR00125
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1974
  • measurements: 25.40 x 26.00 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.
  • 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.