»i should like to thank my teacher, wilhelm lehmbruck. how could a man cause me to decide, once and for all, to devote myself to sculpture after i came across just a fragment of his work in the form of a photograph?« joseph beuys, 1986a
is joseph beuys an artist? or is he a shaman, a reformer and political activist who has changed not only art, but society as a whole? the sight of a sculpture by wilhelm lehmbruck became a pivotal experience for the young beuys. both lehmbruck and beuys were convinced that art has the power not only to explain the world, but also to change it for the better. in keeping with beuys’s own maxim that »everything is sculpture«, this exhibition explores the special relationship between two of the most important german artists of the twentieth century.
»sculpture is the essence of things, the essence of nature, of that which is eternally human« – beuys took this insight of lehmbruck’s as the starting point for his social sculpture, which subsequently revolutionised the art of the twentieth century. ever since then, sculptural forming – making art – has not primarily referred to the shaping of materials but to the shaping of ideas, the shaping of the social fabric as a whole. the duisburg exhibition examines the progress of this future-oriented idea from its inception to the present day.
curated by söke dinkla and jessica keilholz-busch
beuys – lehmbruck. thinking is sculpture
25 june to 1 november 2021
at the bundeskunsthalle, bonn