Joseph Beuys (Krefeld, Germany, 1921 - Düsseldorf 1986)
Born in Krefeld, Germany, in 1921, he began his artistic career in the 1960s among the ranks of the Fluxus movement, which expressed a strong impulse for cultural, political and social renewal. While questioning the mechanisms of capitalist society, he reaffirmed the revolutionary power of art (but also of the artist) in bringing the man and his relationship with nature and transcendence back to centre stage. Teacher of sculpture at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, he adopted a non-conformist teaching style, making it a crucial point of his work. He aspired to a creativity based on all fields of knowledge (philosophy, technology, science), and in 1973 he promoted the FIU (Free International University) in which scholars from the most diverse disciplines converged.
By conceiving art as the creation or transformation of form, he focused his work on performative “actions” in which he investigated the physical and symbolic values of matter, revealing its mystery like a shaman (a nickname that often accompanied him) through magical-ritual rites: felt, grease, wood, wool, rope, metals are just some of the infinite materials, all poor, that he selected and offered to the spectator in an intellectual or psychic confrontation that leads to liberation and mystical asceticism. Beuys stayed in Italy for a long time, as he arrived in Naples in the early 1970s, accepting the invitation by gallery owner Lucio Amelio. In 1974, he established a lasting friendship with art collectors Lucrezia De Domizio and Buby Durini, of whom he was guest for a long time in Bolognano, Abruzzo. They were the ones who donated the Partitura Düsseldorf to the Uffizi, responding in 1994 to the appeal by the Committee for the Uffizi, which was formed after the bombing of Via dei Georgofili on 27 May 1993. The work can be traced back to the multifaceted project Defence of Nature, which in Bolognano saw, among others, the creation of the Paradise plantation, 7,000 plants of different species to enhance the value of biodiversity.