Joseph Beuys

Kampf [Fight] (1980)

About this artwork

Beuys's political involvement had a great influence on his art from the 1960s onwards. The title of this work translates as 'struggle' or 'fight' and is based around an image painted in Braunkreuz oil paint, which looks like two opposing masses in combat. Around this, the artist has written words in capital letters including 'state' 'denationalisation', 'job', with other notes made on the pieces of paper which are attached to the central section, like the tentacles of a jellyfish. Beuys was one of the founding members of the Green Party in 1980, and stood as the official candidate for the party in Düsseldorf in the same year.

see media
  • title: Kampf [Fight]
  • accession number: AR00688
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1980
  • measurements: 53.50 x 50.00 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.