Quotes

"In places like universities, where everyone talks too rationally, it is necessary for a kind of enchanter to appear." Quoted in Caroline Tisdall, Joseph Beuys (New York, 1979) pg 23

"In every human there exists a potential creative faculty. This does not mean that each person is a painter or a sculptor, but that there is latent creativity in every domain of human effort."  Quote from Ferrier, Jean-Louis, Director and Yann le Pichon, Walter D. Glanze Art of Our Century, The Chronicle of Western Art, 1900 to the Present pg 813

"Only on condition of a radical widening of definitions will it be possible for art and activities related to art [to] provide evidence that art is now the only evolutionary-revolutionary power. Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build ‘A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF ART’… EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who – from his state of freedom – the position of freedom that he experiences at first-hand – learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER." Quoted in Caroline Tisdall, Art Into Society, Society Into Art: Seven German Artists

"To be a teacher is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration. If you want to express yourself you must present something tangible. But after a while this has only the function of a historic document. Objects aren’t very important any more. I want to get to the origin of matter, to the thought behind it". Quoted in an interview with Joseph Beuys, 'Willoughby Sharp, published in ‘Artforum’ November 1969.


‘I never in any way attempted to force my idea of art onto people... I always sought those possibilities which are inside every one of us.’
Quoted in Laszlo Glozer, ‘On Blinky Palermo: A Conversation with Joseph Beuys’, Arts Magazine, vol.64, 1990.

"Provocateur – that’s it exactly.  To provoke means to evoke something. By making a sculpture with fat or a piece of clay I evoke something. I ignite a thought within me – a totally original, totally new thought that has never yet existed in history, even if I deal with a historical fact or with Leonardo or Rembrandt. I myself determine history – it is not history that determines me.. ..every man is a potential provocateur." Quoted in Carin Kuoni Energy Plan for the Western man - Joseph Beuys in America pg 86

"It’s conceivable to me that science, the natural sciences, might have taken a completely different direction. These drawings we’re talking about would have been a part of the natural sciences if it had, rather than being classed as art, as they are now". Quoted in Maria Muller et al., Joseph Beuys: Parallel Processes, Düsseldorf 2010. page 6

 "I think the tree is an element of regeneration which in itself is a concept of time. The oak is especially so because it is a slowly growing tree with a kind of really solid heartwood. It has always been a form of sculpture, a symbol for this planet" Cited in Claudia Mesch  Art and Politics: A Small History of Art for Social Change Since 1945. pg. 160


To be continued..