Installation View of “EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST The Centennial Birthday Celebration of Joseph Beuys” at CHAO Art Center
After I am dead I would like people to say: ‘Beuys understood the historical situation. He altered the course of events’. I hope in the right direction.
—Joseph Beuys (1921-1986)
On May 12th, 2021, the day of Joseph Beuys’ centennial birthday, CHAO Art Center and art.ifeng.com jointly held a press conference and film screening to commemorate this legendary artist and was unveiled as “EVERYONE IS AN ARTIST (Jeder Mensch ist ein Künstler): The Centennial Birthday Celebration of Joseph Beuys” for one year duration. It was jointly planned by Jonas Stampe and Xiao Ge, with Wang Jiabei and Cai Hejun as the project directors. The project will cooperate with art institutions in many cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Chongqing, Changsha as well as Shenzhen. Various commemorative activities such as exhibitions, forums, lectures, film screenings and talks after screenings will be taking place. CAFA Art Museum, as one of the major academic institutions are supporting this event, presented “Social Sculpture: Beuys in China” in 2013 and will hold another large-scale exhibition featuring Joseph Beuys in March of 2022.
Portrait of Joseph BeuysExhibition View of “Social Sculpture Beuys in China” in 2013, Image Courtesy of CAFA Art Museum
Yildiz Miller, Cultural Counselor of the German Embassy in China, Zhang Zikang, Director of CAFA Art Museum, LaoZhu (Zhu Qingsheng), President of the CIHA ( Comité International d’Histoire de l’Art), Wang Chunchen, Deputy Director of CAFA Art Museum, Xiao Ge, Artistic Director of art.ifeng.com and joint planner of this project, Jonas Stampe, Senior Curator & Researcher of Red Brick Art Museum and joint planner of this project, Cheng Xidong, contemporary art dealer and collector, Wu Ning, Secretary-General of Wu Zuoren International Art Foundation, Yang Jun, Art Director of CHAO Art Center and other honored guests attended the press conference and film screening. They conveyed their comprehension and feelings about the thoughts and creations by Joseph Beuys. The forum was hosted by the Project Director Wang Jiabei, and the guests developed a discussion with the two planners that focused on the reason that Beuys was still influential today and the special significance of Beuys’ artistic ideas and creations in current society and they interpreted Beuys’ art and its significance from diversified perspectives.
The Group Photo of Honored Guests
After the conversation finished, honored guests and journalists jointly celebrated Beuys’ centennial birthday and two important films on Beuys were screened. The memorial exhibition for Beuys in this project will also show how Beuys used creative materials such as felt, grease, honey, animals and sounds, and other common items such as chairs, tables, a piano, food or a blackboard, and how he condensed a metaphorical symbolic language in his performance art to convey growth, energy and vulnerability.
Beuys always paid close attention to society and people, in the hope of using art to promote a better world. The commemoration of Joseph Beuys does not stem from the appreciation for his artistic ideas and creations, but it also conveys the social participation and sense of responsibility of Joseph Beuys that are indispensable to each of us, both now and in the future.
Text by Wang Yuying, edited and translated by Sue/CAFA ART INFO
Image Courtesy of the Organizer