Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

Joseph BeuysLine to Line, Sheet to Sheet

To mark the centenary of the birth of Joseph Beuys (1921–1986), which has given rise to numerous events throughout the year 2021, the Musée d’Art Moderne de Paris is presenting the exhibition Joseph Beuys: Line to line. Sheet to Sheet, previously shown at the Dresden Print, Drawing and Photography Cabinet (Kupferstich-Kabinett, Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden) from July 23 to October 17, 2021.

In the course of his life Beuys made more than 10,000 drawings: a quantity that points up the centrality of this discipline to the oeuvre as a whole and constitutes an inexhaustible source of insight into one of the 20th century's most emblematic artists.

The nearly one hundred drawings exhibited here are of a highly symbolic nature. Taken from the Beuys family collection, this exceptional group of drawings, which covers the entire career of the artist, has never before been exhibited in its entirety.

This body of work highlights the central role the artist has given to drawing. Like a matrix linking his activities, it comprises explorations of forms, symbols, and scores for actions, installations, and simple notes. Beuys kept his drawings in a pile, using them as a storehouse of ideas he could re-infuse into his work, sometimes years later.

For more than fifty years, Beuys translated his ideas onto paper with great freedom of expression and precision of line. Drawing was his way of understanding the world. According to him, "drawings [were] closer to reality than other genres of so-called reality."

Combining organic and vegetal materials with pencil or watercolour, these drawings address recurring themes in his work: animality, the relationship to nature, the perpetual transformation of the living.

The exhibition is organized in cooperation with the Kupferstich-Kabinettle, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.