Joseph Beuys - How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare
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The right to come together

C’est toi qui as changé – 2 –

Wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder erklärt (1965) was a performance piece by Joseph Beuys. For three hours, Beuys moved through a gallery space with the door closed to the audience. He held the carcass of a hare in his arms, whispering inaudibly to it, while his head was covered in honey and gold leaf; a felt sole was tied to his left foot, and an iron sole was tied to his right. The title, (in English) Explaining Pictures to a Dead Hare, speaks to our anxious need for explanations, and so inspires curators and educators. Beuys stated: “Even a dead animal preserves more powers of intuition than some human beings with their stubborn rationality.” He adds, “Human thinking was capable of achieving so much,” positing that it could also “be intellectualized to a deadly degree, and remain dead, and express its deadliness in the political and pedagogical fields.”*

Beuys believed that those who feel that they want to teach and those who feel that they want to learn, have the right to come together. When people meet, there is always a compromise between the meaning that one wants to give and the meaning that one wishes to receive.

* Read more about the performance here: Why Joseph Beuys and his dead hare live on, an article, which is published by Phaidon and addresses the importance of his mysterious work.

This blog post part of the series C’est toi qui as changé dedicated to the topic of change—and subsequently, how art allows us to learn, to teach, to think, and ultimately, to improve ourselves.

Image: Joseph Beuys – Wie man dem toten Hasen die Bilder erklärt (1965).

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