"Contemplating Joyce's scrotum-tightening Sea, Sandycove" Joseph Beuys at Sandycove,Dublin, Ireland 1974 (photographed by Caroline Tisdall)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gerhard Richter on Beuys

Gerhard Richter: Sea piece (cloudy), 1969, Oil on canvas, 200 x 200 cm, Loaned by Private Collection, Berlin, © Gerhard Richter, Photograph J. Littkemann.

Gerhard Richter was one of Beuys Students

Here are some quotes on Beuys from his book "The daily practice of painting, writings 1962-1993"

notes 1986: 21 February

Beuys. This phenomenon, which took us by surprise 25 years ago, and soon appalled us, unleashing admiration, envy, consternation, fury; this absolute loner, who broke all the conventions which for all our rebelliousness, gave us a framework in which we could 'carry on' in relative security (above all in contrast with the social system that most of us had known previously, that of the GDR). Over the years we got used to him, his activities no longer shocked us, and a certain critial detachment supervened. By the end he was a good honourable artist; to some extent, he had been relativized.
His death revived his uniqueness at a stroke, and all the early (childish) questions posed themselves anew. His death stirs things up, touching something in me that rationalism long ago suppressed: something mystical, superhuman. It frightens me. I would prefer the normal comfort of not being too conscious.

Along with Manet and Ingres, Beuys is the only other artist who hangs in your studio
"Because he still fascinates me as a person more than anyone else; that special aura of his is something I've never come across before or since. The rest are all far more ordinary. Lichtenstein and Warhol I can take in at a glance, they never had the dangerous quality that Beuys had."

Text for catalogue Beuys zu Ehren, 1986
"In 1962 I saw a young man in the Dusseldorf Academy wearing jeans, a waistcoat and a hat; I thought he was a student, and discovered that this was the new professor, that his name was Beuys, and that he did very interesting and somehow different things.
With Beuys it was always different he unsettled me, because he didn't play by the rules. He followed different criteria and employed different strategies; he was working for 'an expanded concept of art', which was not so much a protection as a challenge to me too.

Beuys was highly critical. The customery, specialized divisions of art were always too narrow for him. I hold Joseph Beuys in high esteem, and with him all those things that his name stands for: humanity, art, intelligence, courage and love."

Funny peculiar: Familie am Meer (Family at the Sea), 1964, by Gerhard Richter. Gerhard Richter/Museum Frieder Burda, Baden-Baden

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