Joseph Beuys

Energy Field (1962)

About this artwork

Beuys has combined his favourite matt brown, ‘Braunkreuz’ floor paint with fat to create this work. The artist commonly used animal fat in both his drawings and sculptures along with a variety of other substances that he saw as central to human survival. He related these to traumatic, ‘near death’ experiences that, according to Beuys, he experienced during the war. The title of this work refers to Beuys’s interest in the generation, storage or transfer of energy and can be related to similar drawings of batteries from around this time. It also suggests the idea of spiritual healing from within, a concept which was hugely important to Beuys.

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  • title: Energy Field
  • accession number: AL00201
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • date created: 1962
  • measurements: 62.20 x 47.00 cm
  • credit line: ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Lent by Anthony d'Offay 2010
  • 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.