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I’m not an artist at all

Beuys in Istanbul

Screening of the documentary Beuys by Andres Veiel at DEPO Istanbul

Saturday May 5th, 7 pm

Watch the trailer:

The first major documentary on the most renowned German artist Joseph Beuys, simply titled Beuys, is finally screening in Istanbul at Depo.

Beuys is a documentary by German filmmaker Andres Veiel. World premiere of it was at the competition of last year’s Berlinale in Berlin.

Shockingly there has not been a major Beuys retrospective in the US since 1979, when the Guggenheim in New York let him take over its building and left some critics and the less adventurous members of the public scratching their heads. No one knew then that he would die just seven years later, at the age of 64, or that his enigmatic approaches would come to be so widely imitated.

In Germany he got famous already in 1964 as participant of the documenta in Kassel. Three times he participated into this international exhibition.

What is impressive about this documentary is that Veiel did not stick to the format of retracing an artist’s career in linear, chronological fashion, replete with talking heads in hideous tweed outfits telling us what it all means. Instead, Veiel dug into the archives, creating a film that is 95% footage of Beuys and 5% talking heads contextualizing what we just saw. The film mostly lets us hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

Veiel chose to select the most captivating archival footage that could introduce audiences to some of the key ideas in Beuys’s oeuvre. The film opens on a theoretical note, with Beuys rattling on about his notions of an expanded concept of art — including his much recited aphorism that each person is an artist — and moves on to explore the artist’s major projects and political activism.

Veiel‘s scope was to introduce you to the raw presence of the artist, the timber of his voice, the way his face twists, and the complexities of his mannerisms.

So humor comes in where you do not expect it, namely as a swipe at art critics and journalists. Beuys answers their stupid questions with subtle jokes. This is not only amusing for the viewer, but also illuminates the effect of the artist and man Josef Beuys.

Screening in cooperation with the Goethe-Institut


Thomas Büsch

Filmmaker, Founding Member and Secretary General of diyalog, promotion of cultural exchange with Turkey. Since 2012 he is also project manager of InEnArt.

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