Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian
M HKA, Antwerpen
13 October 2017 - 21 January 2018
The exhibition Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will seek simultaneously to consider Beuys’ activities in Antwerp during the 1960s and ‘70s, alongside considering his relevance to a new generation.
Joseph Beuys was active in Antwerp during the 1960s and 1970s through his relationship with Wide White Space gallery, for whom he was a key reference. Amongst his many exhibitions, it is here that he also made his performance Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff) in collaboration with Henning Christiansen on 9 February 1968. Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will in the first instance look at Beuys as an artist that was not only active in Antwerp (where he met other figures of the Post-War avant-garde such as Marcel Broodthaers and Panamarenko) but was also deeply influential in Belgium more broadly, in a way that has been largely forgotten.
The exhibition will also consider Beuys as a figure who worked in a way that was contrary to the logic and hegemony of Modernism. He was in a sense the embodiment of the anti-Modern. Using his Eurasienstab performance as a starting point, the exhibition will consider how Beuys’ use of the notion of ‘Eurasia’ was part of his Anti-Modern sentiment, looking away from the grand-narrative and hegemony of the “West”, and towards a vision of affinity with the “East”, to the point of even removing such distinctions. It was a vision that was more attuned to cultural depth, mysticism and to nature. This was also echoed in his political engagement, with an approach to politics though a belief in discursivity, latent energy and direct action.
Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will include numerous major works by Beuys, including a number of installations related to key actions, including Eurasienstab (Eurasian Staff) (1968) and Honigpumpe am Arbeitsplatz (Honeypump in the Workplace) (1977) that he activated at Documenta 6 in 1977, as well as key works such as Infiltration homogen für Konzertflügel (Homogeneous Infiltration for Grand Piano) (1966) and Straßenbahnhaltestelle (Tramstop) (1976), amongst many others. The exhibition will also look at the activities of the Antwerp Free International University that was set up by proponents of the Antwerp artistic community during the early 1980s. Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian will be the first major exhibition of works by Beuys in Belgium since the 1980s.
The exhibition is curated by Nav Haq, Senior Curator, M HKA
The exhibition will be the first in a series of monographic exhibitions at M HKA looking at key figures of the Post-War avant-garde who were active in Antwerp, locating the city as part of a network of scenes around the dense region of Benelux and the Rheinland. Subsequent exhibitions in 2018 and 2019 will focus on Marcel Broodthaers and James Lee Byars respectively.
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A comparison of two types...
Joseph Beuys, A comparison of two types of society, 1972. Poster, folded poster.
Action Third Way
Joseph Beuys, Action Third Way, 1978. Mixed Media, chalk, blackboard, walking stick, 3 x (132 x 132 cm).
Eurasienstab über den Alpen
Joseph Beuys, Eurasienstab über den Alpen, 1971. Miscellaneum, ink on paper.
Berg in Slowenien
Joseph Beuys, Berg in Slowenien, 1951-1954. Drawing, pencil on handmade paper, edges regularly torn, 31.6 x 31.9 cm / 50 x 53 cm.
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Joseph Beuys and Henning Christansen, Eurasienstab, Floxorum organum opus 39 (16mm film still), 1968
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Ensembles View all
Anti - Modern / Anti - Mo...
Joseph Beuys was an artist who worked against the logic and hegemony of modernism. Modernism can be characterised by a shift towards individu
Fluxus / Fluxus / Fluxus ...
Fluxus was a movement from the early of the 1960s which wanted to broaden the concept of art by eliminating the boundaries between the variou
Energie / Énergie / Energ...
Joseph Beuys extensively used the term 'energy' in relation to his work. He often used materials such as fat and copper, one can associate wi