On display: poster: Kunstmuseum Basel was created for Joseph Beuys’ first major exhibition in Basel Switzerland in 1969. Photos: CAROL SAFFER

Post Office show provoking and intriguing

November 9, 2019 BY

DRESSED like a gothic shepherd, German conceptual artist Joseph Beuys, spent three days in a small room with a coyote in New York.

“I wanted to isolate myself, insulate myself, see nothing of America other than the coyote,” he said.

Beuys was a sculptor, performance artist, printmaker, political activist and contributor to the avant-garde international Fluxus movement during the 60s and 70s alongside such artists as George Maciunas, John Cage and Yoko Ono.

Joseph Beuys: The Revolution is Us, exhibition at the Post Office Gallery is a small discreet display of his objects, film, sculpture and images.

Shelley Hinton, curator of the Post Office Gallery, said its extraordinary to be presenting the work of one of the most important artists in the world.

“Years following his death, Beuys’ notion of ‘social sculpture’ endures with the potential to positively change and transform society’s understanding of the significance of creativity,” Ms Hinton said.

Beuys’ works illustrate his concept of social sculpture, in which society as a whole was to be regarded as one great work of art to which each person can contribute creatively.

He is often quoted as saying, “Everyone is an artist,” a phrase he borrowed from German philosopher Novalis.

Yellow Yell is based on a photograph of Joseph Beuys on the occasion of his action “Iphigenie/Titus Andronicus” in Frankfurt 1969.

Associate Professor Rick Chew, Arts Academy Director, said this is a truly significant exhibition for the Arts Academy and a fitting one.

“Beuys’ concept of the artist emancipated, a ‘freedom being called to participate in transforming and reshaping our lives’ is powerful and relevant,” he said.

“We are proud to present this snapshot of one of the most significant conceptual and performance artists of the twentieth century.”

Most of the items on display are text or graphics based.

There are three small postcards, three exhibition catalogues, all of which are unopened so it is only the front cover that is visible and an invitation to an exhibition.

A large image poster: Kunstmuseum Basel was created for his first major exhibition in Basel, Switzerland which shows part of the score of Beuys’ happening in 1965 in Wuppertal, Germany.

Within the exhibition there are three silent films playing constantly on rotation.

One of them, Eurasienstab, Fluxorum organum opus 39 shot in yellow in 1968, of the artist putting a large pat of margarine behind his left knee and kneeling on his right foot on which he has strapped a piece of iron on top of a piece of felt is mesmerising.

Joseph Beuys: The Revolution Is Us is at the Post Office Gallery, 40 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat until Saturday, 16 November. Entry is free and the gallery is open Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 5pm.