German Artist- Performance Art, Fluxus, Conceptual Art, Shamanism
Joseph Beuys was a draughtsman, sculptor, action and installation artist, teacher, politician and activist. Along with Marcel Duchamp, John Cage and Andy Warhol he is widely considered one of the most significant artists of the 20th century. He fundamentally altered the nature, materiality, language, boundaries and tasks of art. In his practice—universal in its scope—Beuys explored questions pertaining to humanism, social philosophy and anthropology. His attempt to come to terms with his participation in the National Socialist regime, his experiences as a soldier in World War II and his return to a morally compromised society had a profound influence on the evolution of his practice. Taking himself as a model for inner transformation, he sought to democratize himself and society at large, believing that the key lay in the creativity innate in all human beings. The extent to which he succeeded in achieving the transformation to which he aspired remains a point of substantial controversy. From 1964 onwards he no longer distinguished between his biography and his artwork, having come to view his life as material to be sculpted. This model became the point of departure for his theory of social sculpture, which culminated in 1982 with his documenta contribution 7,000 Oaks.