Ohne die Rose tun wir's nicht. Da können wir ja nicht mehr denken [We won't do it without the rose! We wouldn't even be able to think.]
80.35 cm x 56.55 cm (31 5/8 in. x 22 1/4 in.)
(Krefeld, Germany, 1921 - 1986, Düsseldorf, Germany)
Medium and Support:
Color offset lithograph
Blanton Museum of Art, The University of Texas at Austin, Gift of Charles and Dorothy Clark, 1973
Joseph Beuys once wrote: “For me the rose is a very simple and clear example and image of this evolutionary process toward the revolutionary aim, for a rose is a revolution relative to its origin. The blossom does not come about abruptly, but rather is the result of organic growth, constructed in such a way that the embryonic petals are encapsulated in the green leaves and derive from them. Green leaves are transformed into calyx and petals. Thus, relative to the leaves and the stem, the bloom is a revolution, although it has grown in organic transmutation.”
Given this association, the political activist’s face juxtaposed with the flower in this image identifies him as a revolutionary. Beuys expressed his evolution-as-revolution theme not only iconographically, but technically and conceptually as well. This lithograph evolved from a photograph by Wilfred Bauer published first in Zeit magazine in 1972. In Beuy’s hands the portrait turned into a self-portrait. The revolution occurred when the artist-as-object was transformed into the artist-as-art, an idea Beuys promoted tirelessly in his performances and in what he called his “social sculptures,” which he staged throughout his career.