Joseph Beuys

Wirtschaftswerte (Economic Values), 1980

Exhibiting 04 October – 14 December at Graves Gallery

Wirtschaftswerte (Economic Values) by Joseph Beuys is the centre piece of Art Sheffield 2013. The work displays domestic and grocery packages from East Germany on a large modular unit of metal shelving standing against a backdrop of historical paintings from Sheffield’s visual art collection.

Joseph Beuys (1921–1986) is one of the most important and influential artists of the twentieth century. His belief that art has the power to create change and shape a better society led him to push the boundaries of established artforms and explore social and political concerns. Born in Germany, he was a sculptor, draughtsman, creator of action-performances, political leader and teacher. After being shot down over the Crimea in a snowstorm in 1943, he was badly wounded and looked after for some days by Tartars which had a profound effect on his development as an artist and use of materials such as felt and fat, which were used to keep him alive.

Wirtschaftswerte (Economic Values) is shown courtesy of S.M.A.K, Gent.

  • beuys Joseph Beuys ‘Wirtschaftswerte’ 1980 collection S.M.A.K, Gent, Belgium. Photo: Dirk Pauwels