Art has been existence for a long time and has been further divided into different movements. Common art movements are Dadaism and Surrealism. Dadaism was an art movement of the early 20th century with early art centers in places such as Switzerland and Zurich. Surrealism, on the other hand, was an art movement that began in the early 1920s with the aim of releasing the creative potential of the unconscious mind. The various art movements and periods witnessed several artists some of whom are considered influential. There is no doubt that Joseph Beuys is one of the most-influential artists of the post-World War II era since many artists utilize his ideas and insights in their artworks.
From a personal perspective, one of the most influential artists of the post-World-War-II era was Joseph Beuys. Born in Krefeld, Germany, in 1921, Beuys began his journey as an artist at the end of World War II during which he served as a combat pilot and an aircraft radio operator. His journey into art began when he enrolled in the Dusseldorf Academy of Art where he came to know of various mediums such as sculpture and installation (Adams n.p.). His primary belief was that every person is an artist and that any person’s creative activity can help society to grow and thrive in different ways beneficial to all irrespective of the activity’s size. In the art world, Beuys was known for artwork that can be easily created several times, and that can be seen as provocative given the materials he used and the message the pieces conveyed. One of his famous works is Filzanzug meaning “Felt Suit” that was particularly inspired by a story that Beuys told of an event that had happened to him during the Second World War. Beuys’ story was that he was shot while in his plane during the war and that during the rescue operation, he was wrapped in fat and left to bring back the warmth of his body.
Beuys influenced several other artists in the post-World-War-II era. One of the slogans used by Beuys in his artwork was “creativity=capital” which was later used by other artists. A drawing by Marine Hugonnier of 2016 is a note scrawled in pen with the words “Creativity ≠ Capital.” In his artwork, Hugonnier did not take into account various perspectives such as craft, historically bourgeois mediums, and materiality. Instead, his focus was utilizing most of the ideas of Beuys such as the industrialized and dematerialized forms the latter used in his artwork. Several artworks showcase the charismatic presence of Beuys that is evident in most of his pieces. Examples of such artworks include Grau eScheibe and Blaues Dreieck (Adams n.p.). Moreover, the influence of Beuys in the post-World-War-II era is evident in the fact that a print made by one of his students, Blinky Palermo, seems to juxtapose symbols referencing geometric abstraction, romanticism, as well as Beuys’s mysticism.
Another artist influenced by Beuys’s works is Juergen Teller who is a household name thanks to his photographic work most of which are marked with the name Beuys. Jordi Benito and Jordi Mitjàare other artists influenced greatly by Beuys in the post-World-War-II era (Adams n.p.). Wood and lead, which are favored and used widely by Beuys in his works play an integral role in the works of the two. Jordi Benito’s Sigfrid (2006) showcases Beuys’s idea in the way it contains two lead oars that appear propped up on a stone plinth. Mitjà argues that his artwork known as Filferro, cadiraidalla (Wire, chair, and scythe, 2012) is a homage to Beuys’ prowess and capability to use discarded materials to create new plotlines. In a 1971 performance by Beuys known as Celtic+~, he appeared submerged in a river and served others, and this idea is exhibited in the piece El Retorn (2012) by Fina Miralles. Through her work, Miralles suggests that Beuys’s female contemporaries hardly received him well despite his support for the liberation of women.
In a nutshell, one of the most influential artists of the post-World Wat II era was Joseph Beuys. His influence is evident in how most of his artistic ideas were used by other artists of the subsequent artistic periods. Some of the artists who were influence by Beuys include Marine Hugonnier, Juergen Teller, Jordi Benito, Jordi Mitjà, and Fina Miralles.
Adams, Samuel. “The Chief: ‘A Joseph Beuys’ Examined the Artist’s Lasting Influence in Catalonia -.” ARTnews, 28 Dec. 2016. Accessed May 15, 2018., www.artnews.com/2016/12/28/the-chief-a-joseph-beuys-examined-the-artists-lasting-influence-in-catalonia/.