Idol? Shaman? Charlatan? Who is Joseph Beuys? Where does he continue to have an effect? The
artistic work of the perhaps most prominent representative of German post-war art seems to be
difficult to access–even 30 years after his death. Myth, legend, self-presentation, the diversity and complexity of his oeuvre, as well as the fact that Beuys' works are only rarely presented in museums: all this blurs our vision of him and impedes an assessment, a categorization or even a judgment. The exhibition Open Windows intends to face Beuys on a search for traces in contemporary art; to point out different aspects of his oeuvre in works and attitudes of subsequent artist generations and to put them up for discussion.
We are happy to present positions of important contemporary artists whose works demonstrate
elements that are closely connected to Joseph Beuys or which have become possible only through
what he has done. Erwin Wurm for example picks up the idea of the 'social sculpture', transferring it
to the present with his One Minute Sculptures. Beuys' works and his sculpture concept comprised
movement, action, reproducibility, as well as everyday things. Michael Sailstorfer uses all of this in
his artistic vocabulary. Already with the title Freedom Fries am Arbeitsplatz, Sailstorfer refers to
Beuys' key work Honigpumpe am Arbeitsplatz, which was on show at documenta VI. In it, Beuys
had illustrated his understanding of an energy which circularly flows within a social organism.
The exhibition Open Windows wants to break open the Hermeticism and the claim to absoluteness
which undoubtedly need to be consulted as a key for understanding Beuys' artistic work. Important
achievements will be reflected upon; it will be asked which doors he has opened and where he has
let in „fresh air“. And–as it is when looking through different windows–different aspects, which
influence artists even nowadays and which are relevant for society, will be pointed out.