History of Our World

All in the Present Must Be Transformed | Matthew Barney & Joseph Beuys

Posted in Art, Film, Object by A on February 19, 2010

Chrysler Imperial (Detail), Matthew Barney; 2002

(Cast concrete, cast petroleum jelly, cast thermoplastic, stainless steel, marble and internally lubricated plastic)

Crewmaster 2: The Ballad of Max Jensen, Matthew Barney; 1999

Eurasia Sibirische Symphonie 1963 (Eurasia Siberian Symphony 1963), Joseph Beuys; 1966

(Felt, fat, hare, painted poles and wood panel with chalk drawing)

De Lama Lamina: Oxria d Ferro, Matthew Barney; 2005

(Oxidized iron powder, petroleum jelly and graphite on embossed paper in a self-lubricating plastic frame)

The Department of the Host & Unmoulding, Matthew Barney; 2006

(Cast polycarolactone thermoplastic and self-lubricating plastic)

Wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder Erklärt (How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare), Joseph Beuys; November 26 1965

Terremoto, Joseph Beuys; 1981

(Typesetting machine with fat, Italian flag wrapped in felt, chalk on nine blackboards, metal container with fat and lead type, recorder with cassette and printed brochure)

Stuhl mit Fett (Fat Chair), Joseph Beuys; 1981

(Wooden chair with fat)

Matthew Barney’s The Crewmaster Cycle on Display at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; 2003

Unschlitt/Tallow, Joseph Beuys; 1977

(Twenty tons of tallow fat cut into six elements)

“Had it not been for the Tartars I would not be alive today. They were the nomads of the Crimea, in what was then no man’s land between the Russian and German fronts, and favoured neither side. I had already struck up a good relationship with them, and often wandered off to sit with them. ‘Du nix njemcky’ they would say, ‘du Tartar,’ and try to persuade me to join their clan. Their nomadic ways attracted me of course, although by that time their movements had been restricted. Yet it was they who discovered me in the snow after the crash, when the German search parties had given up. I was still unconscious then and only came round completely after twelve days or so, and by then I was back in a German field hospital. So the memories I have of that time are images that penetrated my consciousness. The last thing I remember was that it was too late to jump, too late for the parachutes to open. That must have been a couple of seconds before hitting the ground. Luckily I was not strapped in – I always preferred free movement to safety belts… My friend was strapped in and he was atomized on impact – there was almost nothing to be found of him afterwards. But I must have shot through the windscreen as it flew back at the same speed as the plane hit the ground and that saved me, though I had bad skull and jaw injuries. Then the tail flipped over and I was completely buried in the snow. That’s how the Tartars found me days later. I remember voices saying ‘Voda’ (Water), then the felt of their tents, and the dense pungent smell of cheese, fat and milk. They covered my body in fat to help it regenerate warmth, and wrapped it in felt as an insulator to keep warmth in.” – Joseph Beuys


All in the Present Must Be Transformed: Matthew Barney & Joseph Beuys

Mark C. Taylor | Christian Scheidemann | Nat Trotman | Nancy Spector

The Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin



The Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin

Matthew Barney

Joseph Beuys



One Response

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  1. Matt Collier said, on November 27, 2010 at 00:44

    VERY good image comparisons. Seems to work as another example of putting art in to a realistic place, it doesn’t appear out of the ether by a lone genius, but through a type of evolution or sharing (of history).. I don’t think less of Barney, as Beuys could as be equally tracked back, and so on..

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