Joseph Beuys (12 May 1921 – 23 January 1986) is widely regarded as one of the most important and influential artists of the second half of the 20th century. He was a German Fluxus, happening, and performance artist as well as a painter, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist, and pedagogue. His extensive work is grounded in concepts of humanism, social philosophy and anthroposophy; it culminates in his "extended definition of art" and the idea of social sculpture as a Gesamtkunstwerk, for which he claimed a creative, participatory role in shaping society and politics. His career was characterized by open public debates on a very wide range of subjects including political, environmental, social and long-term cultural trends.
The Social Sculptures event series kicked off with a workshop for local artists, which started in April and continued in September 2021. The impactful term social sculpture, which Beuys developed in the early 1970s, is centred on the belief that art could include the entire process of living – thoughts, actions, conversation, and objects – and could be enacted collectively by a wide range of people, beyond artists.
Social Sculptures: 10-day workshop for artists
The exhibition features the practices of artists Spyros Anastasiou, Mehveş Beyidoğlu, Stella N. Christou, Eirene Constantinou, Rafaella Constantinou, Marietta Mavrokordatou, Andreas Papamichael, Simone Philippou, Zoe Polycarpou, Korallia Stergides and Nicolina Stylianou. Their artistic approaches employ different media, comprising of sound, sculpture, engraving, photography, installation, performance, some of which are participatory, and so forth. Yet they share a departure from the concept of ‘artwork’, unveiling within and drifting throughout hybrid forms and processes of art-making.
The works and actions created for the exhibition present social sculpture in its diversity and plurality, as acted and mediated through the participants' encounter and exchange. Sculpture is explored as a metaphor of movement, a metaphor we live by as society. Metaphor in its etymological sense to “transfer”, or “carry across”, seems to rearticulate the relationship between plurality and discursive practices through which the idea of movement occurs. Social Sculptures’ movement carries across compositions of reality, not because it reflects the aim or will of an individual and a singular artistic act, but because it derives from collaborative praxis, which is enacted and restaged. By sharing ways to get closer to the unceasingly forming and reforming of social compositions we are part of, the featuring artists grasp the notions of ‘social’ and ‘sculpture’ in their plasticity and resilience.
Beuys in Film
Audiences will have the opportunity to get to know Beuys and his work through a selection of films.
More information on the screening programme and the films