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Galleri Star

Joseph Beuys


Presented by Morten Viskum

Even before we opened in spring 20023, people were contacting us with new, exciting ideas for exhibitions. Sadly, many of the best ideas were not suitable for Vestfossen Kunstlaboratorium. This is what inspired us to build a new project gallery, Galleri Star, which was to house smaller exhibitions and projects featuring world-famous stars of the art world.

The first artist exhibited in Galleri Star, in 2005, was Joseph Beuys (1921–1986), a true star in the art-world firmament that is still shining brightly many years after his death.

JOSEPH BEUYS / Der Spiegel / 1979

Beuys said:

Everyone is an artist.

This is in keeping with Kunstlaboratoriet's philosophy, which opened with the exhibition For all, and has the goal of ensuring that contemporary art reaches as many people as possible.

In Galleri Star the artworks on show were typical of his output. They included black-and-white photos of his actions and, not least, one of his grey felt suits and a toboggan. These were works that referred back to the story he told when building myths around himself.

JOSEPH BEUYS / Kostym (Felt Suit) / 1970

Excerpt of Pontus Kyander's text for the catalogue:

"Joseph Beuys' art is equal parts myth and elaborately staged drama. This does not mean that his artistry is empty – on the contrary, in a peculiar and contradictory way, he almost seems more relevant today than for a long time.

Just about everything he did – at any rate from the 1960s on – points back to one particular event. in 1944, Beuys was radio operator on a German bomber plane over Crimea. His plane crashed, and the crew and Beuys, who was badly injured, were rescued by a rescue patrol. In his own version of events, it was a band of nomadic gypsies who rescued him, and he was smeared in fat and wrapped in felt before being lain on a sledge and transported to safety. The smell of rancid fat and wet animal hair made an indelible impression on him. Later, with constant references to these materials complemented with highly shamanistic aspects in mnay of his "actions" (or performances as they would be called today), the rubbing of fat into the injured Beuys is represneted as an initiation and rebirth. In his work, he appears as a shaman and a reincarnation of Christ – as a conscious cross between European and Asiatic symbols."

We would like to thank Henie Onstad Art Center, Malmö Artmuseum and private collectors for lending us works.

Participating artists

  • Joseph Beuys