Social sculpture

expanded concept of art that was advocated by the conceptual artist and politician Joseph Beuys
(Redirected from Social Sculpture)

Social sculpture is a specific example of the extended concept of art, that was advocated by the conceptual artist and politician Joseph Beuys. Social Sculpture to illustrate his idea of art's potential to transform society. As an artwork it includes human activity, that strives to structure and shape society or the environment.

Some of the 7,000 Oaks planted between 1982 and 1987 for Documenta 7 (1982)
CONTENT : A - F , G - L , M - R , S - Z , See also , External links


Quotes are arranged alphabetically by author

A - FEdit

  • When Beuys was asked to name the most important piece of artwork that he ever produced, he always answered that it was the concept of the “Social Sculpture”. Claiming a concept to be a “real” piece of art might be an unusual answer.
    • Jamie Anderson, ‎Jörg Reckhenrich, ‎Martin Kupp (2011). The Fine Art of Success: How Learning Great Art Can Create. p. 83
  • Only on condition of a radical widening of definitions will it be possible for art and activities related to art [to] provide evidence that art is now the only evolutionary-revolutionary power. Only art is capable of dismantling the repressive effects of a senile social system that continues to totter along the deathline: to dismantle in order to build ‘A SOCIAL ORGANISM AS A WORK OF ART’… EVERY HUMAN BEING IS AN ARTIST who – from his state of freedom – the position of freedom that he experiences at first-hand – learns to determine the other positions of the TOTAL ART WORK OF THE FUTURE SOCIAL ORDER.
    • Joseph Beuys, "I Am Searching For Field Character," 1973; Translate in: Caroline Tisdall, Art Into Society, Society Into Art, London: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1974. p. 48
  • This most modern art discipline - Social Sculpture / Social Architecture - will only reach fruition when every living person becomes a creator, a sculptor, or architect of the social organism.
    • Joseph Beuys, "I Am Searching For Field Character," 1973; Translate in: Caroline Tisdall, Art Into Society, Society Into Art, London: Institute of Contemporary Art, 1974. p. 48
  • Tiravanija's departure point was the idea of the social sculpture pioneered by Joseph Beuys, recast to engage with the complex codings and structures of conviviality elaborated through communal eating.
    • Graeme Brooker, ‎Lois Weinthal (2013). The Handbook of Interior Architecture and Design. p. 191
  • An Anti-Social Sculpture is the deliberate and explicit exploitation of individuals as material for an artistic social experiment.
    The people who comprise these performances produce new anti-social networks through coercive participation in an artwork designed for a provocative and sensational spectacle. The stage of the performance is delineated inside the mediated space of the Anti-Social Sculpture with individuals becoming participants in a show for spectators who watch from afar via the theater of popular media.
  • Social sculptures are temporary and do not lasting longer than necessary; they are not institutions, which tend to freeze and become rigid.
    • Lasse Eckstrand and Monica Walmonn in: Gavin Grindon (2008). Aesthetics and Radical Politics, p. 45

G - LEdit

  • Another radical idea of that time is the Beuysian concept of the Social Sculpture. During the 1960s Beuys formulated his central theoretical ideas concerning the social, cultural, and political function and potential of art. Motivated by a utopian belief in the power of universal human creativity, he was confident in the potential for art to bring about revolutionary change. In his concept of the Social Sculpture, society as a whole was to be regarded as one great work of art (the Wagnerian Gesamtkunstwerk) to which each person can contribute creatively. Some of the first artists to include technical devices in their audience participatory art works were Jean Tinguely, Robert Rauschenberg, Nam June Paik, Nicolas Schoeffer, James Seawright, Edward Ihnatowicz, and Tony Martin.
    • Oliver Grau, ‎Thomas Veigl (2011). Imagery in the 21st Century. p. 204

M - REdit

Documenta 7 Free International University 1982
  • The social sculpture of Health Art has connections to the work of Joseph Beuys specially to his examination of the connections between medicine and art
    • Juan J. Romero, ‎Penousal Machado (2007). The Art of Artificial Evolution. p. 254

S - ZEdit

  • The Beuys criterion of social sculpture is the ability given by actual or symbolic objects and acts to in?uence, that is, to mold or model, humans to become more social and more sensitive to the affinity of humans with one another and with all living things. In Beuys's case, this sculpture was created above all by his imaginative miniature symbolic dramas. All socially symbolic images and actions, alone or together, are, as Beuys would say, instances of social sculpture. Most socially critical art of the present can be put within the Beuys category of social sculpture.
    • Ben-Ami Scharfstein (2009). Art Without Borders: A Philosophical Exploration of Art and Humanity. p. 374
  • The unit defines 'social sculpture' as an interdisciplinary art practice that involves the audience in shaping social processes. Since thought and discussion are its core materials, it recognizes that all humans are artists capable of shaping a democratic, sustainable world”
    • Shelley Sacks, Social Sculpture Research Unit (SSRU) at Oxford Brookes University, cited at Weintraub (2006, p. 75), as quoted in: Sacha Kagan (2014). Art and Sustainability: Connecting Patterns for a Culture of Complexity. p. 305
  • Social sculpture is an English translation of Beuys' notion of Sozial Plastik, Plastik being a dynamic process that can be experienced by human beings as pulsating energy. It is emphatically not the notion of sculpture as carving off a block, although this is not to say that the process of social sculpture might not stimulate a person to do just that. The concept points to an energy and spirit-oriented, embryonic notion of sculpture linked to human perception.
    • Victoria Walters (2012). Joseph Beuys and the Celtic Wor(l)d: A Language of Healing, p. 130

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