Joseph Beuys

Show Your Wound (1977)

About this artwork

'Show Your Wound' was an installation created by Beuys in 1974-75 in a bleak pedestrian underpass in Munich. Elements used there can be seen in these negatives; a pair of dissecting tables and the heads of two iron agricultural tools, mounted on wooden sticks. The wound was a recurring theme for the artist. On a personal level it referred to injuries he received in the Second World War, his breakdown in the 1950s and his heart attack in 1975. More generally, he used the idea to reference events in Germany's past and the divide between Eastern and Western cultures.

see media
  • title: Show Your Wound
  • accession number: AR00093
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art Two(In Storage)
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1977
  • measurements: 23.80 x 332.00 x 114.00 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.