Joseph Beuys

Zeige deine Wunde [Show Your Wound] (1977-1984)

About this artwork

This negative image shows a pair of dissecting tables which were used in the 1974-75 installation 'Show Your Wound'. Beuys created the installation in a dark and dingy pedestrian underpass in Munich, where the sounds of traffic overhead and harsh glare of neon lights were an integral part of the atmosphere created. Above the tables are two rectangular metal boxes, their placement suggesting the position of 'heads' to bodies lying on the beds. Beuys used double images and objects to refer to death, and the divisions within people and society. As he had suffered a heart attack in 1975, the allusions to death and inclusion of the tables (as used in a mortuary) are particularly striking.

see media
  • title: Zeige deine Wunde [Show Your Wound]
  • accession number: AR00094
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art Two(In Storage)
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1977-1984
  • measurements: 32.70 x 45.00 x 5.00 mm
  • 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.