Call for papers: International conference on Joseph Beuys’ Installation Art

Posted on Tue, 11/24/2020 - 11:14

call for papers Space and Time - Joseph Beuys’ Installation Art, its Presentation and Conservation International conference,

Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, 16th – 17th September 2021 in Kassel (Germany)

Joseph Beuys’ 100th birthday will be celebrated in 2021. The artist’s expansive and complex oeuvre is decisively linked to Kassel. Beuys participated in several documenta exhibitions – d3 (1964) to d7 (1982) – and created two of his best-known works in Kassel, the Raum in der Neuen Galerie and the project 7000 Eichen. Stadtverwaldung statt Stadtverwaltung.

Based on the Raum in der Neuen Galerie, the planned interdisciplinary conference will deal with the artist’s works that are both space-consuming, space-defining and space-dependant installations. Beuys frequently integrated autonomous artworks and objects in his installations and he made changes during re-installation. This highlights the versatile and process-oriented character of these works. In general, key aspects of his art are connected with their materiality as well as with the fragility, ageing and degradation of the material. Furthermore, the installations undergo visible changes when they are re-installed in new or newly designed spaces after necessary relocations and building refurbishments.

A dialog between disciplines – art technology, conservation sciences, art studies, and the natural sciences – is intended to explore the relation between the inherent and “original” material character of the artworks and the influence of their varied alterations. This will form the basis for a discussion on the ethical, conceptual and practical implications of conservation and original or work-appropriate presentation:

  • What do we know today about the origin and nature of the diverse materials and the way in which Beuys’ installations were set up?
  • How significant is the spatial environment for these works?
  • In which cases and to what extent should the degradation of the objects be controlled or to what extend can it be accepted in terms of conservation best practices?
  • Under which circumstances is the conservation of the objects or even their replacement by replicas justified?
  • To what extent can standards of conservation treatment that apply to the installation objects also be applied to their installation spaces, or previous display environments?

Requested as conference contributions are 20-minute lectures in German or English. The contributions will be published. Please send an abstract of your contribution (max. 2,500 characters) along with a short biography (max. 500 characters) by 22th January 2021 via email to: You will receive a message on the selection of the submitted proposals by 15 March 2021.

Submission deadline for papers: 22th January 2021 The conference committee consists of Dr. Dorothee Gerkens, Curator of the Neue Galerie, Anne Harmssen, Head of Conservation Department, Dr. Thomas Krämer, Painting Conservation. If you have any questions, feel free to contact Dr. Thomas Krämer, Museumslandschaft Hessen Kassel, 0049-561-31680-142 or -178,