Working 'in the opposite direction': Joseph Beuys in the field
Walters, V. (2010) Working 'in the opposite direction': Joseph Beuys in the field. Anthropological Journal of European Cultures, 19 (2). pp. 22-43. ISSN 17552923
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ajec.2010.190203
This paper will argue that revisiting the ideas and practice of the twentieth-century German artist Joseph Beuys is germane to contemporary discussions of place and human ecology in anthropology. Through an exploration of work undertaken by the artist and a discussion of the influence of Goethe on his practice, it will explore the way in which Beuys' approach to art was informed by a set of methodologies which saw the inner life of the human being and the outer world with which she or he engages as profoundly linked in both physical and psychic terms. Beuys' work points, the author will suggest, to the potential for a myth of fieldwork and a communication of its results that places the anthropologist within a constantly changing world of matter that she or he shapes and transforms and is, in turn, transformed by.