From Technology and Art- Rudolf Steiner

“I really do not want my lectures to have this effect. Everything of the nature of withdrawing and protecting oneself from the influences of all that we necessarily have to encounter as world karma arises out of weakness. But anthroposophy can only strengthen the human soul (Gemüt), and should develop those forces that inwardly strengthen and arm us against these influences. Therefore, never within the compass of our spiritual movement could any kind of recommendation be given to cut oneself off from modern life, or to turn spiritual life into a kind of hothouse culture. This could never apply in the realm of true spiritual culture. Although it is understandable that weaker natures prefer to withdraw from modern life and go into one or another kind of settlement where they are out of reach of it, the fact remains that this arises not from strength but from weakness of soul. Our task, however, consists in strengthening our soul life by permeating ourselves with the impulses of spiritual science and spiritual research so that we are armed against the onslaughts of modern life, and so that our souls can stand any amount of hammering and knocking and are still capable of finding their way into the divine-spiritual realms right through the hammering and knocking of the ahrimanic spirits.”

…”A work of art from the past made an impression by means of its forms and colours. Its forms and colours made an impression. If we make a diagram of it and the form is like this, this form had an effect on the eye (he did a drawing). What was in space and what the form was filled out with, was what made the impression. And it is the same with the colours. The colours on the walls made the impression.

I said that our building is not intended to be like that; our building is meant to be — and this is the terribly trivial comparison — like a jelly mould that does not exist for its own sake but for the sake of the jelly. Its function is to give a form to what is put into it, and when it is empty you can see what it is for. What it does to the jelly is the important thing. And the important thing with our building is what a person who goes inside it experiences in the innermost depths of his soul, when he feels the contours of the forms. All that the forms do is set the process going that creates the work of art. The work of art is what the soul experiences when it feels the shape of the forms. The work of art is the jelly. What has been built is the jelly mould, and that is why we had to try and proceed on an entirely new principle.


Likewise what you will find in the way of paintings in our Goetheanum building will not be there for their direct effect, as used to be the case with art in the past, but will be there for the soul to encounter, so that the experience resulting from this encounter will be a work of art. This of course involves a metamorphosis — I can only give indications of all this — the metamorphosis of an old artistic principle into a new one, which we can depict by saying that when the sculptural, the pictorial element is taken a stage further, it is led over into a kind of musical experience. There is also the opposite step, from the musical element back into the sculptural-pictorial.”

Esoteric Foundations of Joseph Beuys’ Art in the Teachings of Rudolf Steiner


How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare

My interest in the work of Joseph Beuys runs parallel to my introduction to many of the people active in the American Arts section of the Anthroposophical Society in America, early in this century. While attending grad school, I made Beuys the topic of one of my art history Term Papers. I sent the paper to someone in the arts section and was understandably rebuked for not having researched properly  among other things. I had not had access to or time to read what had been written about Beuys from within the Anthroposophical movement except minimally.  It was also inferred that my own artistic endeavors involving the manifestation of Anthroposophy was more important than my weak critical analysis. This too was right, which I tried to do in my small way in the thesis work I produced at the time.

Never he less, I think it might be of interest to some, especially those unfamiliar with the esoteric roots of Beuys work. It may serve as a basic introduction, pointing out, but with limited esoteric content.

For any that might question my final assessment of Beuys work in this paper, It is not meant as a condemnation but as an empathetic gesture:

Esoteric Foundations of Joseph Beuys’ Art in the Teachings of Rudolf Steiner

Note: The above file is compiled from scanned pages due to my poor typing skills in the spirit of expedi

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