Andres Veiel, Beuys (Film still), 2017 © Andres Veiel

The Film Club: Joseph Beuys


20.11 2021


This year would have been the artist Joseph Beuys’s 100th birthday. See the award-winning documentary “Beuys” (2017), followed by a discussion about the artistic legacy of Beuys, with students and teachers from the Royal Institute of Art, and the art historian Magdalena Holdar.

Welcome to a film screening followed by a discussion about the influential, controversial and visionary artist Joseph Beuys (1921–1986). The Film Club starts by showing Andres Veiel’s documentary “Beuys” from 2017, a moving portrait of the man, the artist, his art and his ideas. After the film, the art historian Magdalena Holdar talks to students and teachers from the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. Join in their discussion about the film, the legacy, and the influence of Joseph Beuys today.

Joseph Beuys used sculpture, installation, found objects, performance and art theory to expand, not to say challenge, the definition of art. He also propagated the idea of artists as political co-creators of society. Beuys is represented in the Moderna Museet collection, and 2021 is the year when he would have been 100. This is celebrated by museums and art institutions all over the world.

How can we be inspired by Joseph Beuys’s methods and also reconsider them critically? How can occasions such as centennials and artist documentaries encourage us to think about the role of art and artists in the near future?


Beuys, still 35 years after his death, seems like a visionary to many people. Back then he was trying to explain how money trade would undermine democracy and he explains pictures to a dead hare. He asks with a grin: “Do You Want a Revolution Without Laughter?“

In the documentary “Beuys”, the director Andres Veiel brings together many film clips and sound recordings that have never before been available to the public. This rich archive material paints an intimate portrait of Joseph Beuys, the man, his art and his ideas.

In 2017, “Beuys” was nominated for the 67th Berlin Film Festival Award. It has won numerous awards, including the German film award Lola for Best Documentary in 2018.


Andres Veiel was born in 1959 in Stuttgart and studied Psychology in Berlin. He then attended seminars in Directing and Dramaturgy at the Artist House Bethanien in Berlin from 1985-1989. Since then, he has been active writing film and theater scripts, and lectures at the Free University in Berlin.


Magdalena Holdar is a lecturer in art history at Stockholm University. She investigates performance, intermedia and artist networks in the 1960s and 70s. Next year, her book Chance Collaborations: Fluxus and the Agency of Friends, Strangers, and Things (Brill 2022) will be published, focusing on artists’ strategies for transnational collaboration