In 1958 Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) began selecting individual drawings on paper and composing them into an extensive series, "The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland". On the occasion of the first presentation of this convolute in 1974 in Oxford, the group of 362 individual drawings - which would grow to 456 drawings in the coming years - was given the enigmatic title, in which the word "block" suggests the collection of works as having a sculptural dimension.
Moreover, the word "secret" appears twice in the programmatic title, which indicates that the drawings are secret formulations possessing a power for Beuys to potentially tap and that they are intended for a "secret person". It is likely that the person is the Irish writer James Joyce. In his artistic biography "Lebenslauf / Werklauf" (1964) Beuys had noted mysterious instructions from Joyce to extend his novel "Ulysses" (1922). In "The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland" Beuys refers to the close relationship between drawing, thought, and language. Beuys fundamentally viewed drawing as an extension of language, as "thought forms" that are to be understood as the basis of his artistic practice.
Curator: Eugen Blume
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