Beuys + Warhol

"Beuys face is like his drawings: One thinks to  look through into the inside. Warhol, who loved masks, turned himself into a mask, the mask of a sad clown. He played the role of the celebrity he had become. He became himself in those places where others could not reach him. Some of Walter Schels’ photographs have come close to that place." Franz-Joseph van der Grinten

I first experienced Beuys at the documenta 1977 in Kassel, with his honey pump. He was surrounded by listeners, and I was there for a long time. His cosmopolitan thoughts, the fusion of art and human coexistence, comparisons between honey pump and blood circulation - all this appealed to me. I observed his lively, convincing facial expressions when he spoke. Language, after all, is part of his art. He even declared it a "sculpture." That's what I want to show with my portraits. The liveliness of expression.

Warhol was known to me through my stay in New York in the 60s. I still remember the assassination attempt on him in June 1968. A connection with Warhol and Beuys arose in 1979, when I experienced the large Beuys exhibition at the Guggenheim Museum. At the same time, Warhol had an extensive exhibition at the Whitney Museum. I was particularly impressed by his series of portraits, consistent in size and style. In their art, Beuys and Warhol superficially had nothing in common. The comparison only presented itself through the simultaneity of the exhibitions. I had the desire to get to know both artists and to portray them. I wanted to learn more about Beuys as a person in order to better understand his art. By coincidence, a year later they were both exhibiting together in a Munich gallery. I used this opportunity for a portrait appointment. It was one of my first experiences on the way to becoming a portrait photographer.

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