OORFC was inspired by one of the ‘actions’ of the German artist Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) who was unquestionably one of the most well-known, influential, and controversial artists of the latter half of the twentieth century.
In just under two years time we will be celebrating the centenary of his birth, and, although at any one time there will be an exhibition somewhere in the world devoted to his work,his work does not now seem to be as well known among the general public as, say, Andy Warhol’s.
This situation needs rectifying. His environmental works alone justify that.
Perhaps a quick way to become just a little familiar with the man, and his reputation, is through these images taken at the magnificent moated castle, Schloss Moyland, (click thumbnails to enlarge) which is situated just a few kilometers away from the town of his childhood, Kleve.
You do not need to be familiar with the German language in order to understand the titles in this storyboard display which has, on my most recent visits, filled some of the corridor spaces in the castle.
But, whereas this display uses enlarged reproductions, Schloss Moyland itself houses nearly 6,000 original works by Joseph Beuys - the largest collection of his art worldwide - and in the Joseph Beuys Archive there are another 200,000 archival records and documents, all related to the life and work of the artist.
There are always several rooms in the castle devoted to themed exhibitions of his works - and all this just a couple of hours drive from the Hook of Holland, or an hours drive from Düsseldorf!
Without exploring Beuys’ work in detail at this stage, I explain here how OORFC’s work is linked to him.
Firstly. Perhaps his most well-know statement (quite shocking at the time) is: ‘Everyone is an artist”. By that, he doesn’t mean, for example, everyone can paint well; he was saying that everyone can be creative in their own field of operation.
Secondly, Beuys, who, over his career, seemed to use almost every material under the sun, gradually came to the conclusion that the most important ‘material’ an artist (and hence anyone & everyone) can sculpt is society. Society has a form (a shape). But is it the most appropriate form? Or is there a better form?
We all can contribute, using our creative activity, to sculpting it into something better.
OORFC chooses to explore this opportunity through the lens of the question: ‘What are we doing to our children?’
There are not many videos of Beuys speaking in English but below Beuys recounts his view that everyone is an artist and a few of his works are described. This video was made about 3 years before he died. (Unfortunately the video seems to repeat itself. It is actually only about 4miniutes long).
To be continued….