After a recent visit to Berlin, I had the opportunity to see works by Joseph Beuys Das Kapital Raum 1970 – 1977 at the Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum fur Gegenwart including his film and performance works as video documentation and the impressive and extreme sculptural work Tallow.
“The most important thing to me is that people, by virtue of their products, have experience of how they can contribute to the whole and not only produce articles but become a sculptor or architect of the whole social organism. The future social order will take its shape from compatibility with the theoretical principles of art.”
Joseph Beuys 1973
His aim was to question the underlying motives behind the urban planning which produces concrete deserts, and standards, therefore, the site he choose was the worst possible. An exact cast of a dead corner under an access ramp, transformed into a positive form: sculpture. Twenty tons of mutton fat granules, mixed with a few drums of beef fat for extra firmness were melted down and poured into reinforced plywood mould. Beuys: This is the first sculpture that will never get cold, and if it gets cold it will never get warm again. Beuys’ practice aesthetic was based on two states of chaos/order and undetermined/determined; his use of fat and felt as primal materials with an organic presence maintain this connotation of regenerative life, therefore are giving warmth.
The idea of material reality in his practice was an evident aesthetic of importance; Beuys believed that ‘every individual can be the creator of himself/oneself and of one’s environment.’ What was of pure fascination during the exhibition was the depth and range of works that comprised of four domains; exploring the concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy and the idea of social sculpture. Beuys’ philosophical inquiry developed into a new materialism of contemporary theory which posts a speculative re-evaluation of matter.
My use of organic elements in my work led me to further investigate Beuys practice and his aesthetic approach to the fields of sculpture and installation. Previous works have been assembled or created as a temporary form(s) due to the nature and conceptual approach to research and concepts. Most recently my approach to materials continues to involve an organic aesthetic conforming with the imbalance tendencies of their nature that procures an experimental approach to methods in my practice.
Daus Kapital Raum 1970 – 1977 (Detail)