16 November 2007 – 17 February 2008

JOSEPH BEUYS / HERBERT ZANGS. The Fifties

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Herbert Zangs, untitled, 1953
The two exhibitions juxtapose the Herbert Zangs and Joseph Beuys not primarily in their artistic work but in light of their similar heritage.

Joseph Beuys. The Fifties
By 1962 Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) had laid the foundations for his theory of sculpture in an early oeuvre, largely unheeded by the public, that consisted of countless drawings, collages and sculptural works. His particular handling of classical themes, from the female and the animal form to Christian and mythological depictions, was already evident while he was still studying at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf. Soon, his figurations were joined by abstract forms, his themes were interwoven with aspects of natural history and the evolution of man, and thereby reinterpreted. Beuys examined worthless, worn-and-thorn materials as to their sculptural potential, which he showed in numerous variations, through the deliberate polarisation of open, moved forms and defined, static forms. At the same time he endeavoured to uncover new layers of meaning.

This exhibition highlights his orientation around the essentially sculptural, which was marked by experimental open-mindedness, humour and playful seriousness. Inside and outside the Informel context of the 1950s, that sculpture achieved surprising and lasting formulations.

Herbert Zangs. The Fifties
Herbert Zangs (1924-2003) represents a unique position in the context of the 1950s Informel movement. The exhibition presents this artist through his early oeuvre, which was produced almost unnoticed by a broader public and consists of whitened objects and materi-als, and white and polychrome relief-paintings.

After studying at the Kunstakademie in Dusseldorf, and between numerous trips around Europe and North Africa, this Krefeld artist began collecting materials which had been in everyday use and were then discarded by trades people and by industry. By then painting them white, he diminished the aesthetic of the material, to the benefit of formal features and sculptural processes that emerged through its use. Zangs aim was to reveal the dynamic potential of the materials and their ordering in a unified overall structure.

In relief-paintings done with sprayed or dripped white paint, Zangs initially experimented with the organic dynamic of flowing materials, passing on again later to a rhythmical order made up of serial structures achieved by layering the paint thickly. His white oeuvre came more or less to an end in 1960, with his reliefs in black paint, and only came to the attention of the public in the early 1970s.

With these two exhibitions, the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein is presenting works from its collection by two artists, the untarnished freshness and frankness of whose works are still tangible.

The exhibitions are produced by the Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein and curated by Susannah Cremer-Bermbach.
Guided tour
 Thursday, 22 November 2007, 18 h with Susannah Cremer-Bermbach 
 Thursday, 24 January 2008, 18 h with Susannah Cremer-Bermbach 
Supporting events:
 Thursday, 14 February 2008, 18 h   Discussion

Joseph Beuys: Aktive Neutralität - Die Überwindung von Kapitalismus und Kommunismus

Filmdocumentation with an introduction by Rainer E. Rappmann