Visited the National Gallery of Scotland today (29 Oct 16) with Sara enjoying that part of Edinburgh on a Saturday morning at the end of the month is always welcome. Was there to catch the end of the Joseph Beuys: A language of drawing exhibition which I generally didn’t like. The drawing was exceptionally abstract and in my opinion should have been given such prominence. I was all for realising the loss of a possible art experience when I entered the last room to find the key what unlocked the work and the man. There was a looping video presentation surrounded by several graphic design works: this was right up my street. Plus I had read something earlier about his view of art as a type of shamanism – something I like to think about myself.
The video showed how he was navigator in World War 2 and that he was shot down by the Russians over the Ukraine to be supposedly rescued by a wild tribe of Tata. The rescue part was a pure fabrication however he was shot down that much is true. He was a charismatic artist and even though his drawing was not my taste – his performance art and the video description of his motives was very interesting to me.
I greatly enjoyed the video and reading more about the artist; as he used himself as a proclaimed tool to spread art and heal society. He claimed that greed and “success aggression” is hiding or true nature and that abandonment of hope leads to violence. I very much echo this plus his reference to shamanism and healing spiritual ills. Leaving the gallery I realised I enjoyed the exhibition very much, saved at the end, by moving beyond the drawing and learning more about the man and his motivation, not his presented drawing work. The graphic design by todays standards is simple but the communication and visual engagement is still true.
Gallery Exhibition Link