Joseph Beuys

Tisch mit Aggregat [Table with Accumulator] (1958-1985)

About this artwork

Sitting on this simple wooden table is an accumulator, a device for storing energy. The wires which attach it to two lumps of clay show that it is powered by the earth. Energy was one of the central themes in Beuys's work, often represented by the motif of the battery. Pieces of scientific apparatus appear in Beuys's work from the 1950s onwards and some of his sculptures also use working machinery. Here, science, nature and art are shown working together to create and store energy.

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  • title: Tisch mit Aggregat [Table with Accumulator]
  • accession number: AR00603
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • subject: Furniture
  • date created: 1958-1985
  • measurements: 98.50 x 58.00 x 56.50 cm (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.