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These objects reflect Beuys’s concern with the generation and storage of energy. Many include iron, which Beuys associated with slowness and the gradual accumulation of energy; copper, which he associated with lightning conductivity and speed; or felt, which insulates and absorbs. On the left are two pieces of felt with a razor blade attached, and Samurai Sword, a knife sheathed in felt. On the right are a piece of tram rail, relating to Beuys’s childhood memories of the tram stop near his home; Magnetic Rubbish, a razor blade held upright on a magnetised plate; and a battery.

May 2008