Joseph Beuys

Capri Battery

About this artwork

The principle behind this object is the use of nature as an ecologically-sound fuel source. The instructions that accompany the work read ‘Change battery every thousand hours,’ yet the light bulb will never run out because it can never be switched on. It was made on the island of Capri in 1985, while Beuys was recovering from an illness. The bright colours suggest the Mediterranean climate. Although it is one of the most light-hearted objects Beuys made, it connects with the artist’s interests in energy, warmth and the environment. Beuys was deeply involved in the environmental movement in his native Germany and his work sought to challenge the boundaries between nature and culture.

see media
  • title:
    Capri Battery
  • accession number:
    GMA 4646
  • artist:
  • gallery:
  • object type:
  • materials:
    Light bulb with plug socket, in wooden box; lemon
  • date created:
    1985
  • measurements:
    8.00 x 11.00 x 6.00 cm
  • credit line:
    Purchased with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund, 2002
  • copyright:
    © DACS 2018.
  • photographer:
    Antonia Reeve

Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys