Joseph Beuys and his Students
Works from the Deutsche Bank Collection at the Sakip Sabanci Museum
It’s one of the biggest Beuys shows in Istanbul to date. "Joseph Beuys and his Students" at the Sakip Sabanci Museum presents about 350 works on paper from the Deutsche Bank Collection. The exhibition documents Beuys’s enduring influence on German art since the sixties.
||"To be a teacher is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration," declared Joseph Beuys in a 1969 interview. This quote testifies to the unique position teaching occupied in his overall work and to what extent it helped shape his idea of an expanded definition of art. From 1961 to his spectacular dismissal in 1972, Beuys taught over 300 students at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf.
From September 9 through November 1, the Deutsche Bank Collection presents about 350 works on paper by Joseph Beuys and his students in a major exhibition at the Sakip Sabanci Museum in Istanbul that documents the immense importance the charismatic teacher had for the development of his students. The works by Joseph Beuys and his students are juxtaposed, offering a fascinating insight into one of the more eventful chapters in contemporary German art. The show, curated by Friedhelm Hütte, Global Head Art, Deutsche Bank, and the Turkish art critic Ahu Antmen continues the successful cooperation between Deutsche Bank and the Sabanci Museum while opening up a new chapter in the reception of Beuys in Turkey. Following the 2005 exhibition in the cultural center at Yapi Kredi Bank organized by the Beuys Archive Schloss Moyland, this is the second major Beuys exhibition to take place in Istanbul.
The wide variety of artistic approaches demonstrates that independently of his own artistic position, Beuys saw himself as an educator and encouraged his students to pursue their own individual path. Thus, the spectrum ranges from the geometric, Russian Constructivist-inspired works of Imi Knoebel and Blinky Palermo and the photographic self-portraits of Katharina Sieverding to Jörg Immendorff’s ironic and expressive paintings that critically examined German post-war history and the role of the artist. Along with drawings, photographs, and prints by Peter Angermann, Lothar Baumgarten, Walter Dahn, Felix Droese, Imi Giese, Anselm Kiefer, Inge Mahn, Meuser, and Reiner Ruthenbeck, drawings by Norbert Tadeusz depicting Beuys’s legendary 1974 Coyote: I like America and America likes Me action at the New York René Block Gallery are also on show.
Art’s unique importance for social development that Beuys repeatedly stressed is also reflected in the birth of the Deutsche Bank Collection in the late seventies. Beuys’ famous formula "art = capital" was applied here to provide a direct encounter with contemporary works outside established institutions such as museums or galleries. As cultural capital, art was to benefit all staff members, visitors, and the general public through its presentation at the workplace. The fact that the top floor of one of the Deutsche Bank twin towers in Frankfurt was dedicated to Joseph Beuys until its modernization in 2008 underscores the great influence the artist has exerted on the collection.