Joseph Beuys

Walk Only When You Feel: Your Walk Starts Revolution (1969)

About this artwork

Beuys has layered watercolour, graphite, iron chloride and oil paint in this work on paper. Such unconventional combinations of materials were common in his drawings. The flat, graphic shapes here frequent his paper works from the 1960s and recall the wedges and blocks of felt and fat in his sculptures from this time. Beuys often combined writing and drawing to emphasise the importance of idea over aesthetic. The statement within this work is instructive and powerful and can be related to his role as Professor of Sculpture at the Dusseldorf Academy from 1961 - 1972, when he saw himself as a radical political and spiritual leader, a role that was an extension of his own artistic practice. His conflicts with the establishment led to his dismissal in 1972, despite widespread student strikes and protests. 'Walk Only When You Feel: Your Walk Starts Revolution' can be related to Beuys’s famous multiple 'La Rivoluzione Siamo Noi' 1972 showing Beuys marching towards us and into the future.

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  • title: Walk Only When You Feel: Your Walk Starts Revolution
  • accession number: AL00202
  • artist: Joseph BeuysGerman (1921 - 1986)
  • gallery: In Storage
  • object type: Work on paper
  • medium: Embossed paper in frame
  • date created: 1969
  • measurements: 27.90 x 20.70 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.