26.3.2021 – 4.6.2021
We bring together yesterday and today for our future.
The German artist Joseph Beuys, who is important today for sustainable art, would have had his 100th birthday in May 2021. We continue to live his “social sculpture” in our project “Group Global 3000“. With the art exhibited there, its worldwide appeal, our togetherness and our ecological and economic practices, we want to stimulate discourse for a sustainable world.
For Documenta 7, Joseph Beuys planted a total of 7,000 oak trees in Kassel between 1982 and 1987. Commenting on his ecological artwork “Art-Nature-Culture” planned for Hamburg during this time, Beuys said, “The destruction is there, has already progressed to the point where it seems irreparable to many scientists.” Today, the Fridays For Future movement is pushing to take scientists seriously.
We see his phrase “Every person is an artist” as empowering people to shape their future in a sustainable way. The power of J.Beuys can help us today to solve our global, existential climate crisis. It is his credibility, his green side, his political society-changing action art.
After this exhibition, we continue to call on artists to join his perspective and create works that address the climate crisis and the UN Sustainable Goals in the spirit of Beuys.
In response to our worldwide call, hundreds of artists applied for this exhibition.
We are pleased to present art by 18 exciting international artists from Antwerp, Marseille, New York, London, Poland and Germany with video, Super 8, object, installation, painting, graphics and photography.
Tom Albrecht (D), Jenny Lyn Bader (USA), Arsonist (D), Peter Debusi (NEDE) (D), Jeanne Fredac (F), Stephan Groß (D), Maria Corporal (D), Petra Lehnardt-Olm (D), Rachael Mellors(Pete Hudson)(UK), Annegret Müller (D), Angela Preusz (D), Jean-Michel Rolland (F), Lydia Schend (D), Mark Swysen (BE), Vidal & Groth (D), Misha Waks (PL), Kai Wolf (D), Yana Zschiedrich (D)
Video of the exhibition with introduction by Tom Albrecht
The works of the exhibition
Egg excavation (1971)
Performance, Super 8 documentary. Two actors, spade, silver can, water, egg, Rhine meadow
Action on Düsseldorf’s Rhine meadow. The actor Tom Albrecht approaches the Rhine meadow in Düsseldorf with a spade, digs a hole, puts the egg in it. The second actor pours water on the egg with a silver pot. The hole is filled again and covered with the sod. Credits. Inspired by the actions of Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf. Elements earth, water and egg. The artist “plants” the egg in the ground. His action stands for the creative, for growth, future, change. Watering stands for caring for life in the earth and thus for sustainable living in the future.
Homage a Beuys (2021)
Object, wax from remnants of candles, moss, string, scrap cardboard
A female and male figure made of white old wax lie in a used shipping box on moss connected by cords. Beuys created the similar object “untitled”, 1949/50. In T.A., the figures lie on moss with different proportions and more clearly with their sexual characteristics. The used scrap materials cardboard, wax indicate sustainability in the factory. Human togetherness can only happen on the basis of nature, embodied in moss. The linked sexes relate to the more or less sustainable future through their possible offspring.
Tree Confessions ( 2021)
In a new piece, a tree speaks. The tree tells us a story. His words remind us that humans and plants live in an interconnected ecosystem. We are not alone on this earth.
Please download the audio link to your cell phone.
Go outside, sit under a tree, and listen to the tree speak to you.
THE SOCIAL PLASTIC Art Direct (2010)
Documentation of a participatory action at the artists’ fair Rheinland-Pfalz in the Rheingoldhalle Mainz. The interdisciplinary action artist Brandstifter builds a social sculpture out of PET bottles with visitors over several days in order to change society together in the Beuysian sense of “plasticizing”. “Since Hartz IV and the plastic deposit, poor people in Germany have had to dig through the trash. I want to make this visible, discuss it, denounce it. I connect the objects to the social sculpture, freely after the extended art concept of Beuys. After several stops in Mainz and New York, the action ended with the redeeming of the deposit value for a social cause.” https://thesocialplastic.wordpress.com/ http://www.brand-stiftung.net/
Consumer sports racing sled (2020)
MixedArt. Wooden sleds from the 70s and Redbull drink cans.
The work “Consumption sports racing sled” is inspired by Beuys “The Pack” (The pack). A naive modern version of it, with the thought transference that all you need to get through life is a sled and an energy drink. With a wink. I’m also concerned with a dialogue on the theme of “Always higher, faster, further.”
L’ essence humaine (The essence of man) (2016)
Wood, metal, stool, punching ball, boxing gloves
The sculpture “L’ essence humaine” depicts the earth as a punching ball that can be knocked out with boxing gloves. The sculpture deals with the mindsets and behavior patterns of consumer society and examines our reckless treatment of the planet and its resources – with a humorous wink.
Field of ear (2021)
Computer graphics, digital print on dibond
The graphic “Field of the Ear” shows a second graphic structure under the dominant view of ears of grain, which at first glance gives the impression of sepals. It is only on closer inspection that one recognizes the pictograms from which these ears of corn grow as representations of sport shooters. Enlisted as a professional soldier in the Third Reich, Beuys later stood for grassroots democracy, tree planting, and an expanded concept of art. My work deals with this biographical contradiction of swords and plowshares and Beuys’ resolute vision of transforming negative energies into positive ones.
Thinking with the knee (2021)
Digital and analog animation with photo and charcoal drawing
During a walk in the streets of Beuys’ city Düsseldorf, I photographed a piece of garbage lying on the asphalt. Later I anthropomorphized it and animated it with charcoal drawing. By transforming the garbage with the help of associative drawing, I want to make it clear that humanity is destroying its environment. Fortunately, it also possesses a strong creative power that it can use to improve the world and shape the future. To quote Joseph Beuys, “The only revolutionary force is the force of human creativity.” The title of my video refers to Beuys’ saying, “I think with my knee anyway.” By which he meant that linear, logical thinking with the head or brain would not correspond to the complexity of artistic thinking. That’s why good artists think crosswise and around corners. And that only works with the knee.
NOAH’S ARK (2021)
Installation: animal bones, wire, paper, cotton twine, traces of earth, moss, ink and pigments.
Bones. Post-mortem changes due to time and weathering dissolve the outer forms, revealing the finely constructed inner framework. The porous material increasingly combines with the traces of the environment. Fine shades of color absorbing. Over time, the bones become more and more abstract due to permanent decay. Without their former material context, their origin thus increasingly recedes into the background. Despite this subtle aesthetic, however, they are also an image of our excessive consumption of meat. All animal bones used here are leftovers from meals or accidental finds.
Rachael Mellors (artist) Pete Hudson (moving image)
moving image MP4 H264 1080p
Illuminations’ documents Mellors’ intuitive response to her immersive relationship with the natural world. Place specific practice is rooted in Earth’s cycles and processes, in synchronicity with the seasons, sun rising and erosion. She makes sculptures, referencing her body, with clay fallen from eroding cliffs and uses the luminosity of the rising sun to capture imprints of her shadow body on the cliff. Chance and spontaneity are integral to her embodied practice.
The work is part of a project exploring ecological sustainability and the principles of the circular economy in artistic practice.
Mellors’ creative processes resonate with Beuys’ intensely personal and physical relationship with nature. In Aktion im Moor 1971 Beuys spontaneously immersed his whole body in a marshy peat bog and then standing in the bog daubed his arm and shoulder with mud, embodying the living natural world.
City park to go (2021)
Poster plant crib; wood, earth, various plants
To consider a plant as a sculpture, as art, is perhaps unusual. Living Art. About 39 years ago Joseph Beuys started the action to plant 7000 oak trees. What a feat of strength. Shaping the future sustainably also means tirelessly planting and sowing. It is more urgent than ever to take this gamble again and again. This inspired me to create my “City Park to Go.” Plants to fill gaps or create a small new cosmos. In the front garden there is a crib with various plants. My wish is that the plants will find new owners at finnisage and grow in other places. On this day I will pack the plants, to go, for you.
MAILTO_ Between Borke&Kern – GOOD AHNEN SEIN “Dendron and Homo Sapien in conversation” (2020/21)
The living being tree (Greek: dendron) and the “understanding, understanding, wise, reasonable human being (Latin: Homo sapien) are called upon to communicate with each other. Trees are archives of their environment; their annual rings store environmental events, climate changes, and much more. Everyone is invited to question their own trees, to philosophize about sustainability, to develop their own forms of communication between humans/flora, flora/humans. Using GPS data, tree locations are determined and photos and stories of the trees are visible on an Internet land map. My tree received a felt ribbon with the GPS coordinates: 53°, 96′, 13″ N 11°, 15′, 65″ E. The inscription maps and defines the location, at the same time becoming a statement about the limited lifetime of man. 7000 Beuys trees have been planted since ‘Dokumenta 7’ – the project plants 7000 trees on the Internet.
” Nature must be obeyed to be mastered”, Francis Bacon. Around a low tree with twisted branches, a man searches for peace. It splits. One raises its paw, clings to a branch, the other sits on an uncomfortable bend, like a monkey trying to build its nest. Now there are three, then four, to explore the possibilities for action that the plant offers. The tree was waiting for him. The figure stretches, hangs, lengthens. He becomes one with the tree, settles there and promises to visit it without hurting it. Of course, the tree is instrumentalized by becoming a chair or a bed, but no one cuts its branches or puts them together to make them useful. The tree remains a tree, it becomes a temporary shelter, the act is reversible, and when the visitor has left,
DAX values (2018)
Oil, newspaper, on printed cardboard sheet
The earth dries up, withers away, the “death zones” (Beuys) sprawl. The bison, which nourished and warmed the people of Europe since time immemorial, was nearly wiped out, a harbinger of the progressive death of species caused by man and his prevailing economic system – to the point of destroying its own basis of existence. What are we driven by? Values, Dax, stock market…away? Where are we going? How?
Requiem for Homo supposedly Sapiens (2018)
VIDEO of a spatial kinetic installation by Mark Swysen, violin performance by Leila Faust in the gallery FLOX www.galerie-flox.de in Dresden (DE), camera by Uwe Nimmrichter www.projektn2.de
This room installation was inspired by the floating plastic dump in our oceans, and the ubiquity of microplastic particles in our environment, to drinking water in plastic bottles. Inside, the sound of a violin weeps and comforts the audience, offering hope for a greener future.
1000 oaks less (since (since) 2016 )
Cyanotype on watercolor paper
For the series “1000 Oaks Less” we treated watercolor paper with a cyanotype solution. The application by hand with sponge and brush creates streaks and spots, omissions and double coatings that give each sheet a painterly duct. On each of the treated papers was placed a young tree, torn from the ground. The exposure of the object is en plein air in our garden. The shadow image of a small oak tree is created. The portraits of the little trees are reminiscent of deforestation, broken down to the individual tree. Weeding these plants is part of our gardening, in which we have found a metaphor for the opposition of nature and culture. The title provocatively refers to Beuys’ “7000 Oaks” and questions whether this opposition can be resolved at all.
Nikkei SDGs (2021)
Glass, vegan pill capsules, tree seeds, fragments of “Financial Times”.
“Nikkei SDGs 2020 – participants discussed the various ways in which business innovation can contribute to a more sustainable world.” Big words, like medicine, are supposed to reassure us, to give us a positive outlook, but the truth is that not much has changed since the 1960s. Politicians, companies do too little. With a lot of money and no action, they commit crimes against nature and humanity. This cynical game is getting us nowhere. Words, words. In relation to the works of J. Beuys, each of us is an artist, just as each of us can have a positive impact on the world. So let’s not expect politicians or big business to save us and the planet. We can save ourselves. We can be the medicine, our actions can help move the world for the better. Deeds, deeds
DRAW FROM THE FULL (2018)
Magnet sculpture. Iron, golden rain wood
An iron ladle threatens a wooden ball turned from golden rain wood. The ladle seems to literally devour the planet-like sphere. Under the wooden ball, a smaller iron ball is held in suspension by magnetism. An imaginary threatening mood hovers in the room. The construct seems to collapse at any moment. The theme of this object sculpture is the advancing exploitation of our earth. A topic that is becoming increasingly topical and explosive these days.
HYBRIS R.1 (2021)
Relief, feeding traces of mealworms, styrodur
The work deals, among other things, with the condemnation of nature through the spread of a human-centric worldview and people’s attempts to escape subsequent effects. A temporary laboratory for sculptural research has been created in the artist’s studio. In it, she has insulation material decomposed by mealworms, which in turn produce peculiarly amorphous sculptures. The three-part relief shows a Greek goddess eaten by mealworms along a template in the insulation material. Feeding time per plate from left to right: 20 / 10 / 5 days.
The creation of this work was made possible by a grant from the Cultural Foundation of the Free State of Saxony.
Since the corona crisis still requires restrictions, we will adjust the exhibition organization and program accordingly. The exhibition will be physically built. Whether the events will take place physically in the gallery or online, you will see here on our site as soon as we have clarity about the lockdown.
Opening 3/26/2021, 7pm online:
- Life video of plastic eating mealworms by Yana Zschiedrich
- Annotated video tour of the exhibition
- Online exhibition with image and video
Artist talk 9 .4. ,7 pm. Artists of the exhibition talk with guests about their works.
Recording of the artist talk on Zoom:
Lecture April 23, 7 p.m.: “Beuys for Future”
Dr. Hildegard Kurt, cultural scientist, author and practically active in the field of the expanded concept of art. Co-founder and. Institute for Art, Culture and Sustainability e.V.
How can the new enter the world? Here, “new” does not refer to new varieties of capitalism, new technical framings, or new dimensions of climate catastrophe, but to socially and ecologically just societies. Starting from this question, Hildegard Kurt, speaking and drawing in times of anxiety about the future, attempts to liberate the guiding principle of future viability from its encapsulation. The image of a “new muse”, whose appearance Joseph Beuys had already announced at the beginning of the 1980s, points the way.
End of exhibition 4.6., 7 p.m.: GG3 Online – Workshop discussion “Joseph Beuys: Light and Dark”.
Dr. Peter Funken, Albert Markert and Tom Albrecht lead an online dialogue of those who criticize and appreciate Joseph Beuys in order to work out a consensus. What is the artistic power of Joseph Beuys? What is its light side, its dark side? Why does it preoccupy people so much? Has he come to terms with the Nazi past?
Participants: Dr. Peter Funken (journalist, author, curator, artist, lecturer, coach), Albert Markert (Beuys biographer, art historian, artist), Tom Albrecht (artist, curator, founder Gallery for Sustainable Art)
Video, 1:30 min.
We expressed criticism and see open questions. We want to continue working on the “Bright Side”. What is the artistic power of J.B.? What is the power of the art of sustainability for the artists, their material and for their counterpart?