Joseph Beuys’ “Important Sculptures from the 1950s” at BASTIAN, London

Five unique sculptures from the 1950s alongside documentary photographs by Joseph Beuys will be exhibited at BASTIAN, London, from September 20 through November 16, 2019.

As per the gallery, “Important Sculptures from the 1950s” will offer a rare opportunity to discover significant early works of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. “Presenting work from the time when Beuys had just found his own artistic language based on a deep comprehension of the inner logic of mythology, the exhibition bears witness to the artist’s constant use of mythical references to understand an old spiritual world and its role in modern life.” 

In his drawings and sculptures, Beuys documented his ‘leitmotiv,’ the path of transformation from ‘nature to culture’ in our civilization.

Beuys’ 1952-53 work “The Couple”: two bodies, a woman and a man, are laid out next to each other on a bare stone base, encased within a glass vitrine. In Beuys’ work, both bodies, passing from sleep to death, represent the intact state of mind and soul. The artist on a press note says, “I would say man does not consist only of chemical processes, but also of metaphysical occurrences. The provocateur of the chemical processes is located outside the world. Man is only truly alive when he realizes he is a creative, artistic being [...].”

“Hammer for the Hard of Hearing,” 1959-60, presents a dried cod with hand painted red colored crosses of paper — for Beuys a way to charge the matter with a spiritual content. “Hung beside a seemingly makeshift hammer of wood and glass, both objects represent a deliberate interdependency of an organic, natural material with a man-made tool, the silent hammer,” states the press note.

“The work’s title playfully alludes to the notion of sound as sculptural material and the contradiction of the silent hammer, which would break when used. Beuys’ works from the early 60s continue to incorporate these acoustic dimensions, embodying his ‘extended concept of art’ as encompassing every creative action,” adds the gallery.


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Founder: Louise Blouin