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Polentransport 1981. BEUYS 2021.

Updated: Nov 21, 2021

Joseph Beuys
Joseph Beuys signs the crate of POLENTRANSPORT, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, 1981

My objects are to be seen as stimulants for the transformation of the idea of sculpture.. ..or of art in general. They should provoke thoughts about what sculpture can be and how the concept of sculpting can be extended to the invisible materials used by everyone. THINKING FORMS – how we mold our thoughts or SPOKEN FORMS – how we shape our thoughts into words or SOCIAL SCULPTURE – how we mold and shape the world in which we live: SCULPTURE AS AN EVOLUTIONARY PROCESS; EVERYONE AN ARTIST. (1979)

Joseph Beuys

(Introduction, as quoted in Energy Plan for the Western man - Joseph Beuys in America, compiled by Carin Kuoni, Four Walls Eight Windows, New York, 1993, p. 19)

I wished to go completely outside and to make a symbolic start for my enterprise of regenerating the life of humankind within the body of society and to prepare a positive future in this context... I can see such a use for the future as representing the really progressive character of the idea of understanding art when it is related to the life of humankind within the social body in the future.

Joseph Beuys

(Studio International. Vol. 195, p. 46, 1981)


5.12.1921 Joseph Beuys was born, Krefeld, Germany

2.15.1931 Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi was founded

(Joseph Beuys was 10 years old)

8.18.1981 Joseph Beuys’ Polentransport 1981, Łódź

(50 years of Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi)

(Joseph Beuys was 60 years old)

2.15.2021 90 years of Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi

5.12.2021 100 years of Joseph Beuys

Beuys arrived in Łódź in a vast van carrying on top of it a large wooden crate filled up with his works.... The unpacking of the crate took a long time. Beuys was making comments on almost each piece, signing them, or making additions to some of them, finally signing the crate itself, too,” reported Jaromir Jedliński, a participant of the Polentransport action. Beuys’ action of 1981 was an important event due to its context. It took place 50 years after the founding of Muzeum Sztuki in Łódź, whose core was a collection donated by world-renowned artists. The act of donating a piece from his oeuvre was supposed to be an expression of affirmation and the will to repeat the gesture from 50 years before. Simultaneously, it was as symbol of support for Polish people fighting for freedom and democracy, as well as an expression of a bond of understanding with the Solidarity movement.

Karol Jóźwiak (Quote after: Correspondences. Modern Art and Universalism, ed. Jarosław Lubiak, Małgorzata Ludwisiak, Muzeum Sztuki w Łodzi, Łódź 2012, p. 154).

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