Joseph Beuys was honored at the Kestner Gesellschaft in 1975 and 1990 with two comprehensive solo exhibitions. The exhibitions were curated by our former director Carl Haenlein in collaboration with Joseph Beuys’ long-time companions, Joseph and Hans van der Grinten.
A special presentation of Susan Hiller’s First Aid: Homage to Joseph Beuys (1969–2016) will commemorate these two outstanding exhibitions and the artist himself, on the occasion of the Beuys centennial year 2021.
For over 40 years, Susan Hiller collected holy water from sacred sites, wells and streams around the world and exhibits her samples in glass bottles in antique felt-lined medicine cabinets. The series references both the way Beuys, who believed in the healing power of nature and spirituality, imbued ordinary materials with sacred values, and persistent beliefs in popular culture. The manner of presentation also relates to Joseph Beuys’ penchant for presenting special things in vitrines.
In addition to Joseph Beuys, Susan Hiller paid homage to other artists of the 20th century, such as Gertrude Stein, Marcel Duchamp or Yves Klein. Hiller’s homage works are acts of revisiting which pay critical and celebratory homage to the work of artists.
Curator: Adam Budak