Joseph Beuys

Model for a Felt Environment

1964

Original title
Entwurf fur ein Filzenvironment
Medium
Wood, glass, felt, oil paint and lead
Dimensions
Displayed: 1840 x 1680 x 840 mm
object (vitrine): 1840 x 1680 x 840 mm
object (felt object): 630 x 700 x 220 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
AR00619

Online caption

The neat rolls of grey felt on painted wood inside this vitrine are intended as a model for an 'environment'. Felt insulates and absorbs, representing protection but also a sense of constriction, like being suffocated. The same type of felt rolls are seen in the 'environment' 'Plight' (1958/1985), now in the Pompidou Centre, in which the walls and ceiling are covered with felt to create a stifling atmosphere. Beuys used felt in an infamous 'action' performed the same year this model was made. 'The Chief' saw the artist being wrapped in a felt blanket, fighting claustrophobia to lie practically still, as if in a coffin, for a nine-hour period.