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Joseph Beuys



Joseph Beuys
Krefeld, Germany, 1921 – Düsseldorf 1986






Wood, metal, wax, felt, cotton, flashlight, 41/50


39 x 91 x 35.5 cm


René Block Edition, Berlin


Gift of Marielle and Paul Mailhot, inv. 1983.7


Western Art

From the time of his first performances in the 1960s, Joseph Beuys situated his work in the public sphere, setting it up as a political and humanist, indeed life-saving, act. He made repeated use of elements that referred to his own experience. The felt blanket, animal fat and flashlight in this work are all allusions to the artist’s personal mythology. Beuys claimed that during World War II, the plane he was flying was shot down in the Crimea and his life was saved by Tatars, who pulled him out of his aircraft, covered him in fat and wrapped him up in a felt blanket. The sled can be regarded as a “survival kit,” for traumatic experiences, with the felt and the fat conjuring warmth while the flashlight signals orientation.

© Estate of Joseph Beuys / SOCAN (2023)

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