Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys, Palazzo Regale, 1985, 2 Vitrinen, bestückt mit Objekten, 7 Messingtafeln, Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2010

For a variety of reasons, artists have continually called into question the boundaries between traditional genres such as painting, sculpture, and drawing. An important artist who generated the contents of his works out of the specific properties and characteristics of the materials he employed was Joseph Beuys (1921–1986). In 1992, his late work Palazzo Regale (1985) was acquired for the Kunstsammlung. This large-scale installation represents Beuys’s unique legacy, and is at the same time a document of artistic potency and a summation of his multifaceted artistic a biography. Owned by the Kunstsammlung today are approximately 80 installation works, vitrines, drawings, and collages by Beuys dating from the years 1944 to 1985. The environment fat up to this level I (1972), a work of almost minimalist clarity, emblematizes a central aspect of his all-encompassing artistic conception. The arrangement features three vertical zinc panels and an iron rod which extends out into space. This openness challenges viewers to complete the sculpture mentally, making demands on their powers of imagination while posing questions about the definition and the attitude of the individual. According to Beuys’s theoretical approach, the work’s material components are to be experienced as bearers of energy.