Joseph Beuys

Hirschdenkmal [Monument to the Stag] (1958-1985)

About this artwork

This collection of metal objects has the appearance of mysterious pieces of scientific apparatus, much like the items which appear in the artist's drawings of the 1950s and 1960s. The metals used here are iron and copper. Beuys saw iron as a masculine metal, connected with the planet Mars, while copper was associated with Venus and femininity. Part of the work was shown in the 'Zeitgeist' exhibition in Berlin in 1982, where Beuys had referred to it as a 'workshop' in which ideas for setting the world to rights could be fashioned.

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  • title: Hirschdenkmal [Monument to the Stag]
  • accession number: AR00602
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • date created: 1958-1985
  • measurements: 92.50 x 128.00 x 257.50 cm (overall display dimensions variable)
  • 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.
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.