Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden celebrates Joseph Beuys's 100th birthday with an exhibition

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Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden celebrates Joseph Beuys's 100th birthday with an exhibition
Installation view.

DRESDEN.- Joseph Beuys’s 100th birthday is being celebrated all over the world this year. As an installation and action artist, teacher at the academy, politically active person, and advocate of a different, more creative society, Beuys radically expanded the concept of art.

The Beuys family has given the Kupferstich-Kabinett access to their private collection for the first time, sending a selection of 85 drawings to Dresden on the occasion of the jubilee presentation. With sheet after sheet, the exhibition shows his graphic work created over the course of five decades, presenting an outstanding master of a delicate yet resolute line. The drawings by Beuys constitute the core of his creative work. They show his fundamental interest in nature, all living things, growth, changeability, flow and process. As an observer, Beuys attempted to unflinchingly explore and record—line for line—everything that imposed itself. The drawings allow us to enter a universe between reality and utopia.

Just as Beuys was actively yet controversially participating in the discourse on social questions, he was subtle and visually literate in his drawings. Selected works by masters such as Martin Schongauer, Albrecht Drer, Hercules Segers, Rembrandt van Rijn and Maria Sibylla Merian from the rich holdings of the Kupferstich-Kabinett are juxtaposed with drawings by Beuys, and appear like birthday gifts. They allow for an open, sensual dialogue about the questions of perception, the human image, empathy on an equal footing and across the centuries.

Kupferstich-Kabinett laboratory: KK Lab

The conversation about art stands in the foreground in the specially set up digital laboratory space—the KK Lab—directly next to the exhibition. Beuys and the expansion of the concept of art create a departure point for creative participation from all of us. You are invited to explore the collection and curate your own small exhibitions on tablets. Museum staff members will regularly be there, available for questions and conversations. And if you come to the study room during opening hours, you can see more works up close!

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