Mantua celebrates Beuys' centenary with an exhibition of rare films and works

The Casa del Mantegna in Mantua celebrates the centenary of Joseph Beuys' birth with an exhibition to reflect on his art and thought.

To mark the centenary of Joseph Beuysbirth, the Casa del Mantegna in Mantua is hosting the exhibition Joseph Beuys. The Drum of the Shaman from June 19 to August 29, 2021. The exhibition aims to pay tribute to the artist who marked the history of contemporary art with his idea of “expanded art” through works, documentary material, videos and initiatives, reflecting on Beuys’ thinking about the role of the artist, environmental commitment, and the relationship between art and science.

Promoted by the Flangini Cultural Association in collaboration with the Province of Mantua, the exhibition is curated by Antonio d’Avossa, art critic and professor emeritus at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan.

More than one hundred multiples and unique works from private and public collections will be on display. About 150 rare documents will accompany visitors along the path of the Mantegna House: posters signed by the German artist, postcards and photographs. Also present will bea series of videos made between 1964 and 1986 that testify to the actions during which the artist engaged the public with discussions on social issues, giving rise to a new concept of sculpture: social sculpture. Rare footage, twelve of them silent or sound, of the artist’s actions and discussions visible at stations along the tour route.

Of particular interest is the symbolic reconstruction of the Stuka J-87 plane crash that occurred in Crimea in February 1943. The artist was also involved, later rescued by Tatar nomads, who practiced a shamanic “reconstruction” medicine, covered his body with animal fat and wrapped him in felt. From this experience closely linked to nature, believed by some to be a legend, came his idea of art as a salvific experience of the sick world and the use of felt and fat as recurring materials in his actions, installations and works.

An integral part of the project is the creation of educational tours, with immersion in nature, organized by the Alkémica Cooperative on the themes of the environment, pollution and the relationship between man and nature (reservations at 333 5669382). During the exhibition, a young oak tree will be planted in the garden of Casa Mantegna in memory of the 7,000 oaks that the artist planted starting in 1982 in Kassel during Documenta 7.

The exhibition is also an opportunity for meetings and discussions on Beuysian conception of art and its relationship to society, science and culture.

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Ph.Credit Digne M. Marcovicz, 1980

Mantua celebrates Beuys' centenary with an exhibition of rare films and works
Mantua celebrates Beuys' centenary with an exhibition of rare films and works

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