Installation shot. Photo: Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co. Credit: Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Small Formats by Joseph Beuys, at Louisiana Museum of Modern Art 0

Louisiana – on paper. Joseph Beuys
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen
March 7 – June 9, 2014

Louisiana – on paper is a series of small, concentrated exhibitions dedicated to artists’ works on paper. The series has been shown at intervals since 2011 and continues with the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986). The exhibition has been organized by curator Anders Kold, and created in collaboration with Galerie Bastian, Berlin and Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz.

Joseph Beuys, 1979.  Photo: Brigitte Helgoth / SZ Photo/ Scanpix

Joseph Beuys is one of the quite central figures in the art of the 20th century. His drawings are a summing-up of the thought processes of a constantly searching artist. The exhibition, which is being shown in the innermost part of the South Wing of the museum, presents around 140 works on paper. Beuys’ works on paper make up a silent universe – but the low-key approach is an artistic point, a choice on Beuys’ part that is balanced by their great wealth of ideas and sensibility. Compared with Beuys’ other modes of artistic expression – sculpture, installation and actions – the works function on paper as a kind of apparatus of notes and point the way into his wide-ranging and original thinking about art and the world.

Read in Archive: Joseph Beuys’ Milestones

The works in the exhibition reveal a world of mythological ballast and systems of thought with offshoots to among other things Anthroposophy. The unicorn, the hare, the fish, the stag and the bee are for Beuys bearers of special insights and energy, and at a subtle level in his works one finds guidelines for a new, expanded concept of art as well as thoughts on the organization of a more direct democracy. If one looks closely one can also find the first newspaper pictures from the moon landing in 1969. It is hard to say where the art ends and the world begins in Beuys’ universe.

Installation shot. Photo: Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co. Credit:  Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Installation shot. Photo: Poul Buchard / Brøndum & Co. Credit:  Louisiana Museum of Modern Art

Joseph Beuys. Wachsplastik, 1952. © Joseph Beuys Estate /, 2014

Joseph Beuys. Einhorn. 1956- 57. © Joseph Beuys Estate /, 2014

Joseph Beuys. (Schamanen) - Tanz, 1964. © Joseph Beuys Estate /, 2014 

Joseph Beuys. Mädchenkopf, 1969. © Joseph Beuys Estate /, 2014