"The most expensive trash of all time" was the art establishment’s derisive dismissal of Joseph Beuys. A dead hare; mountains of fat plastered into the corners of rooms; a speech made up of minutes of throat-clearing: the disquieting creations of the German artist knew no bounds. In his mind, everything had to be overhauled. He not only dissected the prevailing ideas on art, but he also called for a completely new approach to politics, society and economics. Using large quantities of never-before-seen archive material, filmmaker Andreas Veiel leads us chronologically through the career of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. Art historians provide context, fellow artists remember him, but mostly Beuys himself addresses us through old interviews and intellectual discussions. Beuys is a lively tribute to the artist, who died in 1986. His private life is left largely unexplored, so although we may not gain more insight into the man himself, his ever-topical, always intriguing ideas shine through all the brighter.
Thomas Kufus for Zero One Film GmbH
Stephan Krumbiegel, Olaf Voigtländer