The exhibition at Timespan brought together a selection of Beuys’ work using fat and felt, exploring the material and symbolic properties of these pieces – of warmth, insulation, and nourishment – and their relationship to the imposing narrative and mythology of the artist’s life and work. For Beuys, the warmth and energy represented by these materials related directly to his belief in the generative potential of art.
The exhibition was accompanied by a programme of events and activities providing an opportunity to engage more deeply with Beuys’ work and legacy:
A BEUYSIAN OAK FOR HELMSDALE
An oakling has been donated by Deveron Arts as part of the project Oaks and Amity to be planted in Helmsdale at the time of the exhibtion. This tree has grown from an acorn collected from one of Beuys’ 7000 Oaks. 7000 Oaks was both an artistic and ecological intervention that aimed to alter the perception of the city space over time by planting a large number of oaks in the city of Kassel. Each tree is accompanied by a basalt stone, and in Helmsdale the oak has been planted in Timespan’s Geology Garden.
A specially appointed Artist-in-Residence worked in Helmsdale during summer 2015, contextualising Beuys’ work for our audiences and exploring the continuing influence of Beuys on artists’ practice today.
BEUYS AND THE NORTH
The presentation of Beuys’ work in Scotland’s Far North was an opportunity to reflect on his interest in Celtic traditions and northern mythologies, an interest which drew him to the Scottish Highlands in the 1970s at the invitation of Richard Demarco. A one-day discursive event took Beuys journey north as a context for a wider conversation on artistic practice and the pull of the North.
The works on display were taken from ARTIST ROOMS, an inspirational collection of modern and contemporary art acquired for the nation by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland through the generosity of Anthony d’Offay with additional support from funders, including the Art Fund. The ARTIST ROOMS tour programme, now in its seventh year, is showing at 17 museums and galleries across the UK in 2015. The tour is supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and through the continued support of the Art Fund and, in Scotland, support from the National Lottery through Creative Scotland.