Joseph Beuys

Untitled (1983)

About this artwork

Ink stamps were used by Beuys in his drawings from the 1960s onwards. The kind most often seen is circular in design, featuring several symbols and the word 'Hauptstrom', which translates as 'Mainstream'. This diamond-shaped stamp is found in several works from the 1980s, and its repeated printing over a selection of scraps of paper here has been used to create a dazzling effect. Beuys began using ink stamps as a parody of official stamps used by bureaucracy. His 'Hauptstrom' stamps were often added after a work was made, changing its meaning and date. With the stamp used here, the diamond shape is central to the overall pattern created.

see media
  • title: Untitled
  • accession number: AR00690
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1983
  • measurements: 14.50 x 10.20 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.