Journal directory listing - Volume 31-41 (1986-1996) - Volume 40 (1995)

Joseph Beuys/Palazzo Regale (Neapel 1985) Author: Shai-Shu Tzeng(Department of Fine Arts, National Taiwan Normal University)


Palazzo Regale, the last installation work by the German avant-garde artist, Joseph Beuys (1921-1986), is his only masterpiece that associates itself with a particular archi-tecture and space. Inspired by the marble geometric patterns and contrasting colors of Capodimonte Museum in Naples, Italy (formerly Palazzo Reale di Capodimonte of the Bourbons), Joseph Beuys created Palazzo Regale, which is characterized with horizontal and vertical lines and is infused with an awesome, mysterious aura.
This installation work is composed of two glass showcases framed with brass and seven brass plaques coated with golden foils and Dammarfirnis resin. Displayed in the cases are his personal belongings together with all the items Beuys had used in action artistic works all through his life. With respect to his plastic theory (Plastische Theorie), these objects and items are arranged to resemble human bodies and to depict human physiological structures as well as functions. That is to say, Beuys employed his commonly used items such as lard, carpets, fur, cuneiform, among others, to portray the development from will, emotion, to thinking in mankind. The showcase in the mid-dle represents a coffin, and the dead within commands kingly reverence and sovereignty (Souveranitat). The showcase nearby, on the other hand, is equivalent to the offerings to the dead, which can be regarded as the necessities for life.
Beuys' Palazzo Regale stands out as a combined symbol based upon the artist him-self as well as natural mythology, thus surpassing the limited range of common symbol-ism. Therefore, the only way to appreciate the artistic talent in his works is to delve into his theoretical structure. This thesis then aims to investigate the special space ex-perience, the subject of death and the symbolic meanings of the installation of items in Palazzo Regale. And the conclusion is drawn as such: Palazzo Regale can be regarded as an autobiographical and retrospective installation work. It reveals sovereignty of mankind through dignity and awe found in the deceased. Within the serene and grand ambiance (Ambiente) of this installation work, we discover Beuys' strong will, even in his deathbed, to pass on his artistic notions to the generations to come.

Keywords:Joseph Beuys, Palazzo Regale, Installation, Erweiterter Kunstbegriff, Plastische Theorie

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