Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Hamburger Bahnhof 2: Joseph Beuys Collection

The Hamburger Bahnhof has an extensive collection of the work of Joseph Beuys.
Beuys is considered one of the leading innovators of the 20th Century. John and I are curious about him, and I saw a tremendous show of his at the Guggenheim in NYC decades ago, but we've never really "gotten" him.
But who can resist his Unschlitt/Tallow, 1977? He filled an ugly, concrete underpass with tallow to heal the space and then cut the moulded fat into six pieces which he presents to us here as sculpture.
Wax and felt are favourite mediums. It's all related to a mythic "real" event in which  nomads saved his life after a plane crash by wrapping him in felt. This is Untitled, or PLIGHT, 1885.
John had a look inside the case for Hasengrab (Hare Grave), 1964-1979.
Intriguing, eh? We look at this and see Sarah Sze's work though we know Beuys comes first.
This young woman is watching a video of one of Beuys' performances. In it he covered his head in gold leaf and wandered about the space with a dead rabbit.
For How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, 1965, Beuys assumes his role as teacher/shaman.
John and I left the collection of his work with our usual bemused bafflement but the work has stayed with me. Great to see such a good selection. This is Das Ende des 20, Jahrhunderts, 1983. By the way, thats another of Dan Flavin's neon installations by the windows here.

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