For Brown Environment: Giant Vessels
© DACS 2008

Reference URL

For Brown Environment: Giant Vessels 1964
  • Artist Rooms
Beuys's environments developed from the artist's performed 'actions' and his glass cases (vitrines) containing objects. They were large-scale installations which allowed the artist to extend the boundaries of three-dimensional objects by 'staging' an environment, like a theatre set. Environments allowed Beuys to 'freeze' a moment from an 'action', and like the 'actions' and vitrines, a central concept of the environments was Beuys's use of everyday materials. In distinctive matt brown Braunkreuz oil paint, this work sets the tone for a monochromatic environment in the artist's signature colour. The cylindrical shapes with curved ends suggest that organic shapes or rolls of felt may be included in the environment.

Glossary Open

Braunkreuz

A medium invented, and first used, by the German artist Joseph Beuys in the late 1950s. It literally translates as ‘brown cross’. Composed of a mixture of paint and blood, it evokes images of rust, dirt, excrement and blood. As a term it has associations with Christianity, Nazism, National Socialism, war and the occult. By varying the qualities of the component parts, Beuys could experiment with the colour, density and texture of this unusual material.

Installation art

An art practice developed in the second half of the 20th century that broke away from the view of a sculpture as a singular object to be looked at. Instead, installation artists create an environment that may surround the viewer. Many are temporary or created for a particular location.

Monochrome

An image made with a single colour.

Vitrine

A glass display case or cabinet used for displaying works of art, objects and curios. The term is derived from the French word ‘vitre’, which means a pane of glass.

Braunkreuz, Installation art, Monochrome, Vitrine

Details

  • Acc. No. AR00130
  • Medium Oil paint on paper
  • Size 73.80 x 105.20 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008