Joseph Beuys' work, particularly after his death, has been reduced to a signature, a brand name. Each piece of felt, a lump of fat, a can, a dirty bottle have been dubbed artefacts, aesthetised, priced, secured and insured. Museum exhibition cases containing shaman's objects repel with their stale feel - "we find it difficult to see their original energy in them".
curated by Karol Radziszewski
„Make a little space, make a better place…” Michael Jackson („Heal The World”)
Heal The World is an exhibition at Muzeum Sztuki with no art in it. Is this at all possible in the times of permanent aestethisation? Joseph Beuys, treating art. as a tool for great social change, emphasised the extraartistic values. He wanted to revive the spirit. What, then, is the wooden box brought by him as a part of Polentransport 1981 today? Is a collection of pieces of paper and small items signed by the artist able to ignite a revolutionary flame in anyone? Beuys’ work, particularly after his death, has been reduced to a signature, a brand name. Each piece of felt, a lump of fat, a can, a dirty bottle have been dubbed artefacts, aesthetised, priced, secured and insured. Museum exhibition cases containing shaman’s objects repel with their stale feel – we find it difficult to see their original energy in them. Paradoxically, the life-giving touch of the artist-demiurge has transformed the items into dead exhibition pieces, frequently fetishisised disproportionately to their potential.
The objects collected for the Heal The World exhibition are devoid of aura. Although they serve noble causes, they are just objects that will return to reality they came from. They look absurd in glass exhibition cases, pretending to be “art”. Similarly, the text covering the “Rules of adjusting forest management in Białowieża Forest to the needs of sustaining its natural qualities” seems to be much less attractive than the idea of planting 7000 oaks. Indeed, who really cares for saproxylic Coleoptera?
Today, probably more than ever, that which is political becomes fashionable, aesthetic, sexy. Yet, at every turn we realise that the seeming “neutrality”, “transparency” of the language of socially involved art is fictitious. On the other hand, for charities and for social activists who truly put Beuysian ideas into action, aesthetics is not a primary concern or it does not exist altogether. It is no wonder, as this is not what their actions are about; sometimes, though, it is a shame that ignorance of these aspects is so great.
Arguably, it could be said that now a majority of vital changes in social awareness take place by means of pop culture. Beuys used to say, ”I have to look like a character from a fairy-tale to reach people with ideas”; would Michael Jackson not have agreed with these words?
Opening: 14th October 2011, 6.00 pm
Muzeum Sztuki 2
19 Ogrodowa Street - Lodz
Opening hours: tuesday: 10.00 a.m. - 6.00 p.m.
wednesday - sunday: 11.00 p.m. - 7.00 p.m.
Admission is free every Thursday
temporary exhibition - 6 / 3 PLN