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Giorgio Conti









An introduction

   2004. Twenty years have passed since the Defense of Nature operation promoted by Joseph Beuys in Abruzzo, an italian region.
Even though this philosophical-artistic-socio-cultural-scientific action was conceived in Italy, there have been few initiatives to remember the event. And yet, that title/programme has become an all-too general slogan, it is no longer the prerogative of exclusively environmental associations.


Kassel, Contemporary urban landscape,

produced by the 7000 Oaks Action


Since the time of beauty has passed…

1786. Wolfgang von Goethe crosses the Brenner Pass (Italo-Austrian border) and begins his Grand Tour of Italy. A journey in search of antihistoricism and pessimism, in that he considers the canons of classical aesthetics “immutable”:

“Since the time of beauty has passed and only necessity and hard material needs fill our days”.


                      The Defense of Nature, Sheet of Postage Stamps of the Republic of San Marino, 2004



From the Tyrrhenian to the Adriatic
From La rivoluzione siamo Noi (We are the revolution) to the L’Utopia concreta (Possible Utopia)

   The anthropologic pessimism, which fluttered in the thoughts of and throughout the initial works in Naples of Beuys, is radically transformed in the experiences and work completed in that Italian Land, bathed by the Adriatic sea.
   From Naples, the German artist heads for Foggia. At Vallo Malbasso, in a mountainous area, he finds signs of German aerial machine-gunfire.





Photographing Beuys, with Beuys

   Beuys has not left ponderous written works behind. His is a type of communication which comes across through performances, works, deeds, but – especially – through public discussion.
   In keeping with the methods proposed by Steiner, he privileges the term ‘dialogue’, “according to me it is the word that produces all images. It is the key symbol for every process of modelling and organising. When I use language, I try to induce the impulses of this power…the power of evolution…”




Genius or Charlatan? After a long yawn came a great scream

   1979, November. Inauguration of the grand exhibition dedicated to Joseph Beuys at the New York Guggenheim Museum. The first, from the start of the postwar years, dedicated to a German artist. Perhaps the only German artist who, during that time, was considered to be of international repute within the USA.

   On that occasion, the magazine Der Spiegel, which enjoys a wide circulation, – an exceptional occurance for a living artist – dedicates its cover to this event, but however leading with the question: “Beuys, charlatan or genius?”. At the end of the article the doubt is no clearer in the mind.




Other images