Paris – Joseph Beuys: “Iphigenie” at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Pantin, through January 27th, 2013

December 2nd, 2012

Exhibition view, Joseph Beuys, Iphigenie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, all photos via Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Curated by Jörg Schellmann, director of Edition Schellmann, the first exhibition shown in the new performing arts-dedicated space within Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Pantin, is a collection of works by renowned German artist Joseph Beuys. The exhibition, entitled Iphigenie, inaugurated Thaddeus Ropac’s massive new space in the suburbs of Paris on October 17th, 2012 and will continue through January 27th, 2013.

Exhibition view, Joseph Beuys, Iphigenie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Photograph of Beuys performing Titus Andronicus/Iphigenie, 1969

Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) was a performance artist, sculptor, installation artist, graphic artist, art theorist and pedagogue, part of the Fluxus movement in the 1960s, and he was an original part of the Happenings movement, which is still alive today.

The exhibition is centered around Beuy’s iconic work Titus Andronicus/Iphigenie, which he created at a turning point in art history, as performance art was declaring its independence as a genre distinct from classical theater. Described as an “action event,” originally enacted at the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt in 1969 for Experimenta 3, Beuy’s famous performance contrasts the violence and cruelty present in William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus with the themes of redemption, love and forgiveness found in Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris.

Curator Jörg Schellman, an expert on the work of Joseph Beuys, has divided the exhibition into two parts: the first is a collection of objects, sculptures, drawings, photographs, and documents that illustrate the “action” Titus Andronicus/Iphigenie as it was originally performed; the second is a group of works organized into a “presentation of Beuy’s universe,” designed to educate viewers about the basic approaches that Beuys used in creating his work.


Exhibition view, Joseph Beuys, Iphigenie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

Some of the items displayed in the first exhibition include drawings and photographs documenting the action, printed editions of Titus Andronicus/Iphigenie, and various sculptures created by Beuys.  Most notable among these sculptures are 2 casts of Kopf, an important sculptural work cast many times by Beuys – a portrait of the head of Beuy’s role model, the Lower Rhenish baron Anacharsis Cloots (1755-1794) – an important member of the French Revolution as oratuer du genre humain.  As frequently found in Beuys’ presentations, the items are displayed in a series of clear glass cases – “vehicles of history,” as he called them.

Exhibition view, Joseph Beuys, Iphigenie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

 Exhibition view, Joseph Beuys, Iphigenie, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac

In the second part of the exhibition, drawings and unique objects are grouped according to a series of themes: acoustic objects; actions; double objects; photography and light; and the confrontation of the materials bronze, copper, zinc and sulphur. Iphigenie will continue through January 27th, 2013.

-E. Baker

Related Links:
Exhibition Page [Galerie Thaddeus Ropac]
Video [Curator Jörg Schellman on Iphigenie]
New York Times: ["Lumiere | Peripheral Vision"]
New York Times: ["On the Edges of Paris, a Burgeoning Art Scene"]