Joseph Beuys

Entwurf für ein Filzenvironment [Model for a Felt Environment] (1964)

About this artwork

The neat rolls of grey felt on painted wood inside this vitrine are intended as a model for an 'environment'. Felt insulates and absorbs, representing protection but also a sense of constriction, like being suffocated. The same type of felt rolls are seen in the 'environment' 'Plight' (1958/1985), now in the Pompidou Centre, in which the walls and ceiling are covered with felt to create a stifling atmosphere. Beuys used felt in an infamous 'action' performed the same year this model was made. 'The Chief' saw the artist being wrapped in a felt blanket, fighting claustrophobia to lie practically still, as if in a coffin, for a nine-hour period.

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  • title: Entwurf für ein Filzenvironment [Model for a Felt Environment]
  • accession number: AR00619
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Sculpture
  • date created: 1964
  • measurements: 184.00 x 168.00 x 84.00 cm (felt object: 63.00 x 70.00 x 22.00 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.
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.