Beuys and Beyond – Teaching as Art
Works from the Deutsche Bank Collection in Dialogue with Contemporary Chilean Art
Not only does the exhibition "Beuys and Beyond—Teaching as Art" shed light on one of the most exciting chapters of West German art: the show, which tours through seven major Latin American museums, also forges new paths. The works from the Deutsche Bank Collection are juxtaposed with works by native artists in each guest museum.
||Chile is currently in the process of recovering from the effects of the catastrophic earthquake that recently hit the country. A continuation of cultural life becomes especially important in a situation as difficult as this. For this reason, Deutsche Bank and the Museo de Artes Visuales (MAVI) have decided to present their joint exhibition project Beuys and Beyond—Teaching as Art to the public. The show was supposed to open at the beginning of March to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Chile’s independence; due to recent events, however, the opening of Beuys and Beyond on March 18 also became a celebration of humanity. In his speech, Jose Miguel Alcalde, Chief Country Officer at Deutsche Bank Chile, announced that the bank has already successfully collected more than 1.5 million dollars to fund reconstruction projects such as CasaBásica, a non-profit that builds new homes for people whom the earthquake has left without shelter.
After Return of the Giants (2003/2004), which featured figurative German painting, and the photography show More than Meets the Eye (2006/2007), Beuys and Beyond—Teaching as Art is the third exhibition from the Deutsche Bank Collection to tour major museums throughout Latin America. The show, organized by Deutsche Bank, intensifies the collaboration with Latin American partner museums: in each country along the tour, the selected paper works by Joseph Beuys and his students are juxtaposed with the works of an influential native artist and his students. The selection is made by a curator at each museum.
For the MAVI show, the curators Ana Maria Yaconi and Andrea Brauweiler have selected prints by Eduardo Vilches together with drawings and sculptures by his students Mónica Bengoa, Arturo Duclos, Rodrigo Galecio, and Iván Navarro. Vilches and Beuys each made an indelible mark on the art of their respective countries. The encouragement to take part in dialogue and the support of the exchange of ideas and concepts is what connects these two artists and teachers—and what inspired the exhibition concept.
Just how great the influence of the charismatic "shaman" Beuys actually was becomes clear in the work of Jörg Immendorff, who often painted portraits exploring his professor's influence while still a student at the Dusseldorf Art Academy. A later Beuys portrait appears in the drawing EINSAM+DOOF der Unbesiegbare Jörch, Dein Notenschlüssel (LONELY + DUMB the Indomitable Jörch, Your G-Clef, 1995), which depicts Immendorff as a small boy holding Beuys's hand. In 2005, two years before his death, he also used this motif in one of the last bronze sculptures he made, Komm Jörch, wir gehen (Come, Jörch, Let’s Go), an homage to his teacher and a vanitas image of a gravely ill artist. Along with Immendorff's frequently political works, Norbert Tadeusz' works also stand for the figurative strains among the Beuys students. Along with landscapes and interiors, in 1964 Tadeusz recorded one of the professor's early actions in a series of pencil sketches. From Imi Knoebel's and Blinky Palermo’s reduced abstractions to the photographic works of Katharina Sieverding and Lothar Baumgarten—the works from the Deutsche Bank Collection show the entire artistic range among Beuys's students.
Vilches, too, is uninterested in pushing his students in any particular artistic direction. For his part, he is considered to be one of Chile's most important printmakers. A Fulbright grant sent him to the US in 1963, where he continued his studies in art at Yale with Joseph Albers, whose color theory heavily influenced Vilches's work. It was in the US that he encountered Abstract Expressionists such as Kline, Motherwell, and Rothko. Vilches's print works testify to his love of archaic forms oscillating between abstraction and figuration. The usually appear on white backgrounds as black silhouettes whose irregular contours bear the artist’s signature.
Vilches has been teaching at various different Chilean art schools since 1965. Probably his best-known student is Ivan Navarro, whose complex neon sculptures elicited an international attention at the Chilean Pavilion of the 2009 Venice Biennale. Along with Vilches’s analytical approach to color and a strong sensitivity to material, Navarro most admires his mentor’s great personal integrity. Rodrigo Galecio is also present in the exhibition with a series of drawings and a sculpture he created especially for the MAVI show as an homage to both Beuys and Vilches. Although his rather quiet manner of teaching and his refusal to mix art and political activity stand in stark contrast to Beuys’s ideas, Vilches left a similarly seminal mark on his students. Along with the opportunity to experience important works by contemporary German and Chilean artists in dialogue, Beuys and Beyond—Teaching as Art illustrates two completely different models for supporting creative potential and artistic development.
Beuys and Beyond – Teaching as Art
March 19 – May 9, 2010
Museo de Artes Visuales, Santiago de Chile
June 1 – July 19, 2010
Centro Cultural la Recoleta, Buenos Aires