Joseph Beuys

Gegenüber dem Fixsternhimmel [Facing the Stars] (1978)

About this artwork

Beuys was interested in the history and culture of the Celtic countries, and made several visits to Scotland and Ireland. The paper bags used in this relief may have been picked up by the artist during his 1974 trip to Ireland, in connection with the exhibition of his group of drawings, 'The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland'. Critics believe James Joyce to be the 'Secret Person' to whom the work is addressed, as Beuys was a lifelong fan of the Irish writer. The iron frame used for this work may have been chosen by the artist due to the metal's strong connection with the earth as well as the bloodstream.

see media
  • title: Gegenüber dem Fixsternhimmel [Facing the Stars]
  • accession number: AR00626
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: Scottish National Gallery Of Modern Art Two(In Storage)
  • object type: Photograph
  • date created: 1978
  • measurements: 18.60 x 12.70 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.