reviews

Joseph Beuys

Anthony D’Offay

While the location of Joseph Beuys’ thinking varies between street and study, thematically his sculpture seems to be undergoing some alarming temporal fluctuation. This recent installation, Dernier espace avec introspecteur (last space with introspector) features his Fettstuhl, an artist’s stool covered with wax, now 24 years old, as well as childhood reminiscences of the Schwanenburg Castle in Cleves, reduced to rubble during the war. At first the dating of the piece, “1964–1982,” suggests a Proustian reminiscence, a desire to fox art history by doubling back while remaining within an avant-garde, or simply an old man’s gathering senility. (Already Beuys is considering death; the trees he intends to plant at this year’s Documenta will outlive him.) Perhaps it is more interesting than that: in making a site for the Fettstuhl Beuys is researching his own career, providing a rationale for

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