Research Paper Tutorial 1

My first tutorial with Gareth Polmeer was to discuss the content of my initial draft of my research paper question and abstract.

My initial thinking had been to focus on the works of Christian Boltanski and Joseph Beuys perhaps most predominantly because I have researched their work a lot in the past and had written about Joseph Beuys during my previous degree, so I felt a degree of comfort reflecting deeper on their works.

During the tutorial I described my thinking in more detail and we discussed the potential for this to be to broad a topic considering the outline I had provided in the abstract.

Gareth advised me to consider perhaps using a different artist and also focussing specifically on two distinct pieces of artwork so as to make the research paper more specific.

The philosophies of collective memory and involuntary memory, being very broad constraints in their own right, the concept of focussing on two specific artworks would constrain these theories within a specific context.

The conversation with Gareth at this stage proved very useful to me and gave me the impetus to consider other artists and begin to frame my research question more succinctly.

Joseph Beuys

After feedback from Emrys and Helen about the Contextual Studies 2 (ARF 501) Presentation I have spent some time thinking about Joseph Beuys and how he might influence my artwork.

While Holzer is known for inserting her political statements into the public sphere, the German artist Joseph Beuys is lauded for his role using art for social transformation. Beuys positioned himself as artist, teacher and educator often articulating his thinking through extensive lectures, using blackboards to illustrate his ideas in works such as For the lecture: The social organism – a work of art, Bochum, 2nd March 1974 1974. Beuys own words were inextricably linked with the artwork itself in part because of his role as a teacher and activist.

Much of Beuys’s work was focused on the environment – many of actions would take place in the landscape.

http://www.tate.org.uk/artist-rooms/collection/themes/artist-rooms-theme-language

I was interested to learn, Joseph Beuys was considered a Pedagogue (a Strict, Pedantic Teacher). I can relate to having a pedantic nature and can be a bit this way myself sometimes.

Joseph Beuys (German:[ˈjoːzɛf ˈbɔʏs]; 12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) was a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist as well as a sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Beuys

This started me thinking about the blackboard I had seen in the Tate Gallery. His work is provokative, stimulating a reaction and engagement from the audience. I too like to stimulate a reaction, I’m not concerned with whether people like my work, only that in viewing my work something has changed within them, that my work has provoked a reaction, either good or bad.

During the 1970s, Beuys lectured extensively on art and politics, and the task of creating a genuinely democratic society.

arts-graphics-2005_1158438a1

In the Duveen Galleries, in what is now Tate Britain, Beuys lectured on humanity’s natural creative capacity and the power of direct democracy to shape society. He chalked his conceptual theories onto the three leftmost blackboards (the fourth was used in a subsequent action at Whitechapel Gallery) and engaged the crowd in a free-form and often tense discussion.

http://www.tate.org.uk/visit/tate-modern/display/artist-and-society/joseph-beuys

Four Blackboards 1972 by Joseph Beuys 1921-1986

This series of three blackboards were used to illustrate an event held at Tate in 1972, in which Beuys discussed his ideas about communication and grassroots democracy. A fourth blackboard, not displayed here, was used during a subsequent lecture at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Gallery label, March 2003

http://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/beuys-four-blackboards-t03594

This lit a spark in my mind given my recent delve into the theories of Pedagogy, Creative Processes and Autoethnography in Education discussed in my blog post Creative Flow.

beuystreeThe subtitle of this work indicates that 7,000 Oaks was fundamentally a time-based, or “process” work of environmentalism and eco-urbanization. Beuys planted 7000 trees in the small, historic city of Kassel, Germany, over several years (carried out with the assistance of volunteers), each oak accompanied by a stone of basalt. Beuys’s concerted effort to physically, spiritually and metaphorically alter the city’s social spaces – economic, political, and cultural, among others – is what finally constituted a community-wide “social sculpture” (Beuys’s own terminology). 7000 Oaks officially began in 1982 at Documenta 7, the international exhibition of modern and contemporary art that is organized, by a guest curator, at Kassel every five years (since 1955). Beuys’s own ecological “happening” drew to an official close five years later, at Documenta 8, after being continued by others for a full year after Beuys’s own death.

7000 oak trees and 7000 basalt stones – Kassel, Germany

http://www.theartstory.org/artist-beuys-joseph-artworks.htm

Joseph Beuys and Andy Warhol

 A playful balance between Beuys the warm with Warhol the cold.

The chalkboard, a tool used by Beuys with cold and inhuman computer printouts, something Warhol would have liked. The wax prints are warmed up (a la Beuys). The poem in the center speaks to inside out, hot and cold.

https://www.spudart.org/blog/joseph-beuys-andy-warhol/

I really like the use of a blackboard in Joseph Beuys work and have previously considered the idea that something like this could be used to record daily thoughts or happenings over a period of time to create a piece of artwork.