Joseph Beuys

JOSEPH BEUYS - alchemist, social visionary and artist - was born in 1921 in Germany. In 1961 he became Professor of Monumental Sculpture at the Dusseldorf Academy, but was expelled in 1972. Following his first gallery 'action' in 1965, 'Teaching Paintings to a Dead Hare', his international reputation grew. In 1979 he was honoured with a major retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum, New York. He died in 1986, just after receiving the prestigious Lehmbruck Prize. Beuys left behind him not only numerous large-scale installations and site-works, hundreds of provocative multiples and small objects, thousands of drawings, documented social sculpture forums about energy, new money forms and direct democracy, but above all a methodology and ideas like 'parallel process' and 'social sculpture'. VOLKER HARLAN was born in 1938 in Dresden, Germany. He studied arts, biology and theology, and was a priest of the Christian Community until 2001. He is a cofounder of the private University of Witten-Herdecke, and a lecturer on the philosophy of nature and aesthetics. His doctorate has been published under the title Das Bild der Pflanze in Wissenschaft und Kunst. He was a friend of Beuys from 1972 until Beuys's death in 1986.