»if i fight a boxing match as for example at the documenta in 1972 then it’s a boxing match for direct democracy, that’s to say, a fight situation is created for some spectators. but on a symbolic level it represents nothing other than the struggle for a humane future.« joseph beuys, 1978a
the exhibition »anyone who doesn’t want to think will be thrown [throw themselves] out« in the foyer of the university and state library düsseldorf at the heinrich-heine-universität focuses on joseph beuys’s boxing match for direct democracy through referendums. beuys’s fight on 8 october 1972, the last day of documenta 5, is symbolic of the physical attrition and absolute commitment without which, according to beuys, nothing new can be created.
visitors taking the exhibition tour in effect enter the ring for four rounds alongside the artist and thinker joseph beuys. the coalescence of beuys’s artistic career and work, his art and his life, is mirrored in the boxing match. analogies between boxing and beuys’s lifelong fight will be explored using boxing terminology and selected objects, including items from the collection of the university and state library, thereby providing a new perspective on the work of one of the most important artists of the twentieth century. the fight for life and death, in the ring and in society, is a fight to shape the future.
curated by anne-marie franz and inga nake