Opening on October 7, 2011, at 8 pm
Venue: Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum for Contemporary Art, Berlin
(Invalidenstraße 50-51. 10557 Berlin)
In 1984, Joseph Beuys spent eight days in Japan on the occasion of his exhibition at the Seibu Museum of Art in Tôkyô. Although the artist had largely given up conventional exhibitions by this time, he agreed to the Tôkyô presentation on the condition that the museum participate in funding his ecological project 7000 Eichen in Kassel. Beuys was accompanied by a Japanese camera team under the direction of the photographer HATAKEYAMA Naoya. Not only did they document his arrival, installation, press conference, and the exhibition opening, but also videotaped lectures, discussions, and the legendary action Coyote III, performed together with Nam June Paik, in their entirety.
Now on view for the first time in Europe, the video material was believed to be lost until its rediscovery by the curator TAKAHASHI Mizuki who subsequent exhibited it in Tôkyô in 2009. The video documentation traces Beuys’s journey day by day. The Coyote III action and his lecture “Kunst und Gesellschaft” take center stage. This and other discussions illuminate his idea of art as well as his attitude towards Japan, which was then at the beginning of its rise to an economic world power in the 1980s. Beuys here discusses his criticism of advancing materialism and the potentially devastating consequences of the exploitation of nature. The artist had formed the political party of EURASIA as early as 1963 and used the term in different actions around that time. In these projects he formulated a utopia in which only the merging of eastern and western cultures would lead the world to fulfill its true, artistic destination.