Joseph Beuys

Dumb Box

1982

Original title
Dumme Kiste
Medium
Copper and felt
Dimensions
Object: 470 x 1080 x 630 mm
Acquisition
ARTIST ROOMS Acquired jointly with the National Galleries of Scotland through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008
Reference
AR00622

Display caption

Beuys saw a close link between scientific and spiritual ideas, and was always concerned with the physical properties of his sculptural materials. He was particularly interested in ideas of energy and warmth, which he related to the production of creative and social energy. In this work copper, a conductor of energy, is combined with felt, an insulator that absorbs energy. The form of the box may be seen as a response to the more abstract and impersonal approach of American Minimalists such as Donald Judd, who used similar structures to explore ideas of space and reveal the distinctive quality of materials.

Gallery label, July 2010