Visual Descriptions

Joseph Beuys. Eurasia Siberian Symphony 1963. 1966 86

Panel with chalk drawing, felt, fat, taxidermied hare, and painted poles, 6' x 7' 6 3/4" x 20" (183 x 230 x 50 cm). Gift of Frederic Clay Bartlett (by exchange). © 2020 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

Narrator 1: 8–6 Eurasia Siberian Symphony. Made in 1963 by the German artist Joseph Beuys, 1921–1986. Panel with chalk drawing, felt, fat, taxidermied hare, and painted poles. 6 feet wide by 7 feet 7 inches high by 1 foot deep. 183 x 230 x 50 cm.

Narrator 2: Please be mindful of the taped barrier on the floor surrounding this sculpture. It’s about three feet away from the sculpture and is used to keep viewers a safe distance from the work of art.

This sculpture brings together an assortment of objects that were used by the artist in a 1966 performance at a Berlin gallery. The largest object is a blackboard leaning against the wall. It’s approximately five feet square and has a black frame. In front of it, near the center of the top edge, is a taxidermied hare, similar to a large rabbit, which is about twenty inches long and sixteen inches high from the top of its ears to the bottom of its feet. The hare is shown in profile and faces to your right. It has matted brown and grey fur. Its eyes are open and its limbs are outstretched below and tied to four dark–blue thin wooden rods that look like stilts and lean against the blackboard. The rods are approximately five feet tall and extend outward, creating a triangular shape, like the poles of a teepee. There is also a horizontal rod, about seven and a half feet long, tied to the front side of the hare. This rod is also painted dark blue, except for an area in the center where it touches the animal’s body.

Two other six foot tall dark–blue wooden rods are propped up against the blackboard on the right. They extend behind the hare’s neck and are attached to each of its ears. The two rods cross over each other about three and a half feet down, where they’re tied with string. From this point of intersection to the floor, they create a long thin triangle, which Beuys filled with fat. The thick, opaque yellowish substance has an uneven surface as if it was applied between the poles in a haphazard manner.

Extending from the hare’s front right leg is another triangle, this one made of thick gray felt. It’s nearly two feet long and is one foot at its widest point, where it nearly touches the blackboard on the right. It’s adhered to the rod on its left side.

The notes on the blackboard are all written in white chalk in capital letters. They allude to the significance of these materials and connect the materials to the performance. Parallel to the left edge, reading from bottom to top in capital letters are the words, “Division of the Cross.” Immediately to the right of these words is a drawing that’s 31 inches wide and eighteen inches high of the outline of the top section of a cross. Below the drawing is the word “Eurasia”, a reference to the landmass that made up the continents of Europe and Asia.

Near the bottom right of the blackboard is text written in German. It says “Grad Filzwinkel: 32 degrees,” reflecting the degree of the angle of the felt. Directly below that “Grad Fettwinkel: 21 degrees” is written, a reference to the degree of the angle of the fat. Along the bottom left edge of the blackboard, it reads “Temperatur Celsius: 42 degrees,” referring to an elevated human fever.

Narrator: To hear the Collection Tour audio on this work, press 4–5–1.

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