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Currently shown
Joseph Beuys

Sledge

Artist

Joseph Beuys
Krefeld, Germany, 1921 – Düsseldorf 1986

Title

Sledge

Date

1969

Materials

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

Dimensions

39 x 91 x 35.5 cm

Publisher

René Block Edition, Berlin

Credits

Gift of Marielle and Paul Mailhot, inv. 1983.7

Collection

Western Art

From the time of his first performances in the 1960s, 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. During the Second World War, the plane he was flying was shot down in the Crimea. 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 sledge can be regarded as a “survival kit,” for, despite the development of an industrial, technological world, humankind has to think about its survival.

© Estate of Joseph Beuys / SOCAN (2020)

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