Photo: Jason Swisher

Gesamkunstwerk (Joseph Bueys)

Dimensions240 cm x 100 cm x 72 cm
Materials Sandblasted glass, industrial felt, aluminum, and wood

Gesamkunstwerk, a work of art that makes use of all or many artforms.

Joseph Beuys, a German artist associated with the Fluxus group was born in 1921, He was a performance and happening artist as well as a painter, sculptor, and installation artist who probed and poked the art establishment. Hard to define, he was a prolific public speaker and teacher that created a personality cult around himself. He spoke out on humanist, political, environmental, and social and cultural issues. Throughout his discourse, he was forever trying to get everyone to see themselves as artists and promote participation in artistic projects.

The materials and symbols I have used to tell his story stem from his personal myth. I portrayed him as a character which was reinvented for the moment and therefore ghostlike. This was the reverse embodiment of his famous felt suit sculpture. Felt, being an important material in his sculptural iconography. One cannot measure his colossal importance on the post WWII art world shown through the works he produced and the influence he had on succeeding generations.

Other elements I incorporated into my homage include his iconic hat, an oak seedling which refers to his participatory environmental project, planting of 7000 Oak Trees, begun as part of Documenta 7 (One of the world’s most important art fairs) and a luge which is the support for a survival kit that refers in part to his invented personal history. Buys died in 1986.