Joseph Beuys, ‘The End of the Twentieth Century’ 1983–5
Joseph Beuys, The End of the Twentieth Century 1983–5 . Tate . © DACS, 2020

Room 8 in Artist and Society

ARTIST ROOMS Joseph Beuys

The End of the Twentieth Century

Joseph Beuys, The End of the Twentieth Century  1983–5

A major theme in Beuys's work was renewal. This sculpture developed out of his environmental concerns, particularly a plan to plant 7,000 oaks in the city of Kassel, Germany. Next to each newly planted tree would be placed blocks of basalt rock. Here, the basalt itself becomes a symbol of potential growth. A cone has been cut out of each rock, allowing the cavity to be lined with clay and felt. Embedded in dead matter, these materials suggest the possibility of new life emerging at the end of a dark century.

Gallery label, August 2004

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Joseph Beuys, Lightning with Stag in its Glare  1958–85

In the massive installation Lightning with Stag in its Glare (1958-85), the suspended, bronze triangle embodies the energy of a powerful flash of lightning, which illuminates a group of half-formed creatures. The ‘stag’ of the title was originally made from an ironing board and then cast in bright aluminium to suggest the glare of the lightning. The cart represents a goat, and the clods of bronze on the floor are primordial creatures. A small compass, mounted on top of a box, is another reference, with the lightning flash itself, to the natural energies of the earth.

Gallery label, November 2005

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Tate Gallery actions Seven exhibitions

Joseph Beuys, Tate Gallery actions Seven exhibitions  Date not known

For Seven Exhibitions at the Tate Gallery, Beuys contributed a poster with photographs of previous Actions on one side, and English translations of some of his political manifestos on the other. The video shows part of Beuys’s Information Action, in which Beuys responds to questions from artists Gustav Metzger and Richard Hamilton.

Gallery label, November 2015

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The End of the Twentieth Century
Joseph Beuys The End of the Twentieth Century 1983–5

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Joseph Beuys Lightning with Stag in its Glare 1958–85
Tate Gallery actions Seven exhibitions
Joseph Beuys Tate Gallery actions Seven exhibitions Date not known