CON-TEMPORARY Art Observatorium and Jizaino present

We Are Joseph Beuys

Group exhibition

► Introductory texts
► Exhibited artworks and photo gallery
► Excerpts of the video artworks
► Catalogue
► Directions

We Are Joseph Beuys
6 - 26 April 2022
CON-TEMPORARY Art Observatorium
Corso Buenos Aires 42 11
Lavagna, Italy

Download the invitation card

Susana Barbara • blanche the vidiot • Benna Gaean Maris • Lamija Halilagic • Yana Kononova • Bill Psarras • Lucas Rebelo • Lexygius Sanchez Calip • José D. Trejo-Maya • Elena Waclawiczek

Introductory texts

We Are Joseph Beuys

The initiative of organising an exhibition celebrating the great German master Joseph Beuys at the end of the year commemorating the centennial of his birth, in May 1921, was necessary to keep from waning and to project into the future the message of the shaman artist, a fundamental protagonist in the rise of contemporary ecologist movements, going on with the debate on the truest and profound feeling of love for nature that moved him, and that repeatedly moves also the activities of the CON-TEMPORARY Art Observatorium.

What a centenarian Beuys would say today about the contemporary society? He, who had a bad consideration for new media like television, promoted a return to nature, the physical contact with the reality of things, with matter. Instead, in this epoch we can see a world of people trapped into the cognitive cages of telematics, all subjected to a globalisation that is canning them inside their own smartphones padded out with the other opportunities of virtuality, meanwhile they frequent dazzling electronic rooms, but not seeing that perhaps in reality they are strolling in filthy suburbs or dump-landscapes, irradiated by omnipresent radio repeaters.

And yet, all in all, today it may seem that Beuys’ environmentalist thought from a sparkle became a fire, at least in words, in wishes. Should we then take care less about spreading the respect for the environment?

Continues on the catalogue...


Beuys’ most famous aphorism says that “everyone is an artist”. But we must understand deeply the meaning he conveyed to the word artist, this is to say observing the etymology from the Arian root of the word “art”, which defines the action of “going”, “proceeding”, “acting”, “doing”, so the action itself. Thus anybody acting is an artist, even those who do not practice a discipline that is typically artistic (in the common sense,) and so democratising the artist’s position in regard of the rest of society. He himself did actions and created artworks which essence and look were not purely artistic, but intentionally ordinary, using raw and poor materials like fat and felt, and for this reason he was often criticised of an excessive attention-seeking behaviour, to elevate his own figure above the artwork itself; but this very abstract concept holds the revolution of the Beuysian thought: everyone is important in human society for what we do and as human beings.
After all, the force that really made Beuys’ figure so important has been his own person, his personality, so incline to the debate, to the fair discussion. He devoted himself to art, to the teaching and the debate, and even the politics, always trying to become yeast for the society, to make it grow.

Another seminal phrase of the master is “the revolution is us.” Today we can see that this thought has considerably spread indeed among people, who have now become aware of their own importance, even as single individuals who unified by a thought can change the present and outline the future. But there is still a constant risk that this determination of the individuals is going to wane, so it is still necessary to have guiding spirits who can encourage people, lead by examples.
The example is right the essence of the artistic message, the performance, the exemplary action as model where the artist becomes herald, allegory, totem, human totem bearing message, change, healing, in one word: shaman.

His relationship with the natural element has obviously been very intense, since his first enigmatic performance with a dead hare as hosted in the arms of a Michelangelesque Piety, up to the famous arrival in New York during which he had himself shut inside a cage in close contact with a wild coyote (divine animal venerated by Native Americans symbolising the wild nature of prairies), and above all during the intense Italian period between the 60s and the 70s ...

Continues on the catalogue...

Exhibited artworks and photo gallery

Excerpts of the video artworks

Video summary of all the time-based artworks


Click here to ask for the catalogue on paper.

Catalogue of We Are Joseph Beuys - Group exhibition, Italian | English, 52 pages A4 (21 × 29.7 cm)


The CON-TEMPORARY Art Observatorium exhibition room is located in the centre of Lavagna, in the midst of Riviera Ligure di Levante, northern Italy. The location is well serviced, a few steps from bus and railway stations, the touristic jetty, free 2h parking and near the highway exit. Access for impaired people and lift.

By foot, by train or bus: exiting the train station of Lavagna towards the city side, go to the left going along the main street until the Poste Italiane post office, here turn right toward Via Cristoforo Colombo street, as soon as you arrive at the roundabout of Piazza Cordeviola square turn left in Corso Buenos Aires boulevard. The building n. 42 is at the start of the boulevard.
Bus stop "Lavagna - Cordeviola/Edicola" linee 704, 705, 731, 798, 846 and 934.

By boat: on the maritime line fares Portofino / Lavagna / Cinque Terre disembark at the touristic harbour of Lavagna. Exiting the harbour, turn left in Via dei Devoto street and go beyond the railway by the underpass that takes you to the Poste Italiane post office, then follow the directions above.

By car: toll road A12 E80 Genova-Livorno, exit at Lavagna, go toward the town centre. At the roundabout of Piazza Cordeviola turn right in Corso Buenos Aires and stop at the start of the boulevard, number 42 .

By airplane: the nearest airport is the Cristoforo Colombo in Genoa, the shuttle bus VOLABUS will take you to the train station of Genova Brignole, from there you can reach Lavagna in 40-60 minutes.