Beuys was active in Antwerp during the 1960s and 1970s through his relationship with the seminal gallery Wide White Space. Amongst his numerous exhibitions, it is here that he also made his performance Eurasienstab in collaboration with Henning Christiansen in 1968. Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian looks at Beuys as an artist that was deeply influential in Belgium, in a way that has been largely forgotten.
The exhibition also considers Joseph Beuys as a person who worked in a way that was contrary to the logic and hegemony of modernism. Using his Eurasienstab performance as a starting point, the exhibition examines how Beuys’ use of the notion of ‘Eurasia’ was a part of his anti-modern sentiment, against greater rationality, individualism and the Eurocentric world-view. With a vision that was more attuned to cultural depth, mysticism and to nature, Beuys wanted to remove the distinctions between ‘East’ and ‘West’. This anti-modern perspective was also echoed in his activism, with an approach to politics through a belief in discursiveness, latent energy and direct action.
Joseph Beuys – Greetings from the Eurasian brings together over one hundred and fifty works. It is the first in an annual series of monographic exhibitions at M HKA looking at key figures of the Post-War avant-garde who were active in Antwerp.