Joseph BEUYS (1921-1986)
From the 1960s onwards, Beuys was a great believer in the ability of art to transform society. He was involved in the experimental activities of the Fluxus group and of the artist Nam June Paik in Düsseldorf and began to develop an interest in art through his close links with literature, music, performance and in everyday life.
His performances, which he called “actions”, incorporated sculptures, small objects, drawings and indoor installations. His approach was revolutionary, incorporating ritualised movement and sound as well as materials such as fat, felt, blood and dead animals.
Beuys took part in many activist groups, including the Université Internationale Libre (Free International University), which focused on a mix of disciplines and highlighted the creative potential of all human beings. Beuys is now considered one of the most influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. His reputation became firmly established in the history of art in 1979, when a retrospective exhibition was held at the Guggenheim Museum in New York.