On 12 May 2021 Joseph Beuys would have been one hundred years old. I think back to a century, to this century, and I inevitably think of the similarities that occurred then. A hundred years ago there was also a pandemic, after that, those “happy” twenties,
followed by a strange “boom” of ultra-right-wing politics, followed by a tremendous economic crash and the culmination of wars, world war and we had a civil war to foment the nonsense.
Many things repeat themselves, others are similar and others I can’t even imagine. And I think again of Beuys’ 100 years and I think and I want to believe how human beings have an incredible capacity to mutate and transform. This man, before going into a gallery to talk to a coyote, before explaining to a dead hare what an image is, was a pilot in the Luftwaffe, the air squadron of the Nazi armed forces. This man had to crash his plane and fall into a deep depression to realise that the values of life lay elsewhere. His initial position, we do not know whether out of unconsciousness, ignorance or madness, he transformed it like an alchemical exercise: as when he melted down the replica of a Tsar’s crown and in doing so reforested Kassel from barbarism.
Let us hope that, in this century, even if it seems that we are losing our memory, it is not too late and we do not need to crash to remember that the beauty of transformation will always bet on life.
Triptych of three pieces of Japanese ink on washi paper, 128 cm x 70 cm each.
Homage to the centenary of the birth of Joseph Beuys, the result of conversations with my friend Kornelius.