Joseph Beuys Untitled 1959–60

Artwork details

Joseph Beuys 1921–1986
Date 1959–60
Medium Graphite and oil paint on paper mounted between Perspex in zinc frame
Dimensions Support: 200 x 292 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
Not on display

Online caption

Mounted between two sheets of plexiglass and displayed in a zinc frame, this drawing has been transformed into a three-dimensional object. The conical shapes are reminiscent of stylised cooling towers from a power station, complete with smoke at the top. This reflects the artist's interest in sources of heat and power. The two crosses represent positive energy. Beuys's choice of zinc for the frame would have been a deliberate one, as he chose his materials for the qualities they represented. Zinc is a metallic element and an essential mineral for life, but equally is poisonous in high concentrations.

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