Beu 5 Will e Beuys
Another side to maverick artist JOSEPH BEUYS is about to be revealed in a retrospective of his collected 'editions'.
Words: Neil Cooper
Suddenly Joseph Beuys is everywhere. In a feat of synchronicity worthy of such a legendary art figure. he's in the movies — grainy black and white Super 8. naturally — at Dundee (.‘ontemporary Arts. and is quite probably at an art gallery near you
i as we speak. Yet. with exhibitions
in Dublin and Liverpool pending. it‘s appropriate that Edinburgh nips in first with lz'r/itions. a major retrospective of prints. objects. photographs. books and postcards. For when maverick impressario Richard Demarco brought Beuys to Edinburgh in l97(). it opened up the art world to a welter of influences that have gone down the generations to inspire the current crop of British art stars all too willing to muck about with dead sheep and formaldehyde.
With Demarco. Beuys trod Rannoch Moor. and created psycho-geographic maps of the capital. He created Fluxus-inspired actions that bridged the debris-strewn gap between life and art. placing everyday detritus at the centre of things. With Heinrich Boll. he'd already founded the Green movement in Germany. and went on to found the Free University network. an international alliance of autonomous education that by-passed more formal
g bodies. These days such
notions. whilst not exactly commonplace. are at least accepted. while Green Party MPs sit in the European parliament.
Editions; organised jointly
' with Berlin‘s Nationalgalerie.
has gathered some 560 of Beuys' multiples from the private collection of Rheinhard Schlegal. For curator Keith Hartley. this has been a major labour of love.
‘Since his death in 1986. people have realised what a crucial artist Beuys was.‘ says Hartley. ‘And in a way this is the complete Beuys. because his whole art went into everything he did. The reason he did multiples. or "editions" as he later called them. was to reach as many people as possible.‘
It was an approach parallel to. but the flipside of. Andy Warhol's pop art lithography. Beuys opting more for the organic than the lush allure of movie star icons. Both artists. though. were heavily influenced
8‘ THE lIST 24 Jun-8 Jul 1999
'Beuys had a tremendous belief that man would eventually transcend into a higher, more spiritual being.’ Keith Hartley
Back support for a fine-limbed person of the 20th century AD (1972)
by .\larcel Duchamp.
'Beuys' own work drew more from the (Jerman romantic tradition than any sense of irony.’ argues Hartley. 'There's a real sense of spirituality in Beuys‘ work. Again. it goes back to ideas drawn from the Green movement. Beuys had a tremendous belief that man would eventually transcend into a higher. more spiritual being.‘
Anyone who's ever seen a photograph of Beuys will have tapped into his enigmatic charisma immediately. Pork pie hat. uniform black clothes. fiercely intelligent ga/e and just a hint of wry amusement are the Usual drill. Most photos show a world in motion collaborators beaver around Beuys. who‘s invariably sitting back. smoking a fag. a sea of calm at the centre of a blur of frantic activity Beuys was an orchestrator in this way. a Pied Piper figure whose often undefined role was crucial to the end result without him appearing to do anything.
‘He was incredibly charismatic.‘ Hartley recalls. ‘and whenever he was around. one felt immediately drawn to whatever it was he was doing. The fact that he always wore the same clothes reinforced this. and he was very good at getting across to people the passion of his ideas.‘
Edinburgh: Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. Sat 3 Jul-Sun 12 Sep.
Keeping you in the picture. CHANNEL 4's TURNER PRIZE coverage gained some much-needed notoriety when artist Tracey Emin stumbled drunkenly off set during a
televised group discussion. This
year, Emin finds herself on the shortlist alongside Steve McQueen, Steven Pippin and twins Jane and Louise Wilson. The prize will be announced on 30 November. In the meantime, Glasgow will be one of the venues in a nationwide programme of discussions on the prize.
GLASGOW CITY COUNCIL has
confirmed that Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum will close in 2001 for eighteen months as part of a major refurbishment, during which it is proposed that parts of the collection go on tour abroad to raise both revenue and profile. On this and other issues, the museum is once more under scrutiny in the pages of The Herald newspaper — it's like Julian Spalding never left!
IT'S THE SEASON for summer school. This year, Glasgow School of Art summer programme will run from 12-30 July — call 0141 353 4596 for details. There is 20% discount for unemployed or pensioners. Edinburgh College of Art opens it
doors to summer students between
12 July and 20 August (brochure available from 0131 221 6109). Edinburgh is also running a series of
; one-day Saturday classes with a rate of only £5 per day for those on
benefit. Call 0131 221 6254 for
EDINBURGH'S CITY ART CENTRE will host a summer residency by Munich-
' based artist Pia Lanzinger. This is a
Travelling Gallery project and a
subsequent exhibition will be on the
move throughout Scotland from
1 September. Lanzinger is an ideal candidate for art on the move: her
current project in Germany is an unconventional bus tour of Munich.
MEANWHILE, MOTOR TRAVELLERS in Glasgow may have noticed a Houdini-like figure at the Tradeston entrance to the M8, the notorious ’road to nowhere’. He is in fact part of the Journeymen project by
f collaborative duo Heisenberg. Over the next few months, look out for
activity at Gorbals station and Kirkhaven. (Moira Jeffrey)
t Journeymen project for Tradeston. Glasgow. May 1999