That is for me the reason why I have to speak, and I have to speak more often than I do so-called art-work. You see, the complication is that I have to use something.. ..I have to use a traditional determination for ideas, so when I speak about art, I can only say that there are two kinds of art: the traditional art, which is unable to bring up art at all or to change anything in society or in the ability and the joy for life; and then, there is another kind of art, which is related to everybodys needs and the problems existing in the society. This kind of art has to be worked out from the beginning, it will never lead to result in any physical form.. ..that is my meaning.
I know a lot before a start an action. I know a lot about the necessity of the general idea of sculpture, but I dont know anything about the process in which the action will run. When the actions runs, my preparation works, because I am prepared to do a thing without knowing where it goes. You see, it would be a very uninteresting thing it would have nothing to do with art if it were not a new experiment for which I have no clear concept. If I had a clear concept of solving the problem, I would then speak about the concept and it wouldnt be necessary to make an action. Every action, every artwork for me, every physical scene, drawings on the blackboard, performance, brings a new element in the whole, an unknown area, an unknown world.
The only hope I had was when (in his youth, fh)I saw one day a photograph of a sculpture by Wilhelm Lehmbruck, a German sculptor of expressionistic style. This was perhaps the only example, Lehmbruck, between my sixteenth to nineteenth years in which I saw a possibility for art to be principally of interest to innovate some things, instead of writing a very boring, naturalistic repetition of what is already done by nature.
After I am dead I would like people to say: 'Beuys understood the historical situation. He altered the course of events'. I hope in the right direction.
But one is forced to translate thought into action and action into object.. ..I am not a teacher who tells his students only to think. I say: act; do something: I ask for result. It may take different forms. It can have the form of sound, or someone can do a book, make a drawing or a sculpture. I dont care..
Man is really not freeing many aspects. He is dependent on his social circumstances, but he is free in his thinking, and here is the point of origin of sculpture. For me the formation of the thought is already sculpture. The thought is sculpture.
Art alone makes life possible this is how radically I should like to formulate it. I would say that without art man is inconceivable in physiological terms.. ..I would say man does not consist only of chemical processes, but also of metaphysical occurrences. The provocateur of the chemical processes is located outside the world. Man is only truly alive when he realizes he is a creative, artistic being.. ..Even the act of peeling a potato can be a work of art if it is a conscious act.
To be a teacher (Beuys was teaching on the Dsseldorf Art Academy, fh) is my greatest work of art. The rest is the waste product, a demonstration. If you want to express yourself you must present something tangible. But after a while this has only the function of a historic document. Objects arent very important any more. I want to get to the origin of matter, to the thought behind it.