Image: Joseph Beuys
Joseph Beuys portrait. © Joseph Beuys Estate.
Venice Biennale 2022

Joseph Beuys Joseph Beuys: Fine-limbed

20 April—2 October 2022
The Palazzo Cini Gallery, Venice

curated by Luca Massimo Barbero 

On 20 April, the 2022 exhibition season at the Palazzo Cini at San Vio opens with a solo show paying homage to the renowned contemporary artist Joseph Beuys. 

In 2022 the Palazzo Cini will be open every day except Tuesdays. 

The Palazzo Cini Gallery – a remarkable house and museum containing masterpieces from the personal collection of the great patron of the arts Vittorio Cini – reopens to the public with Joseph Beuys: Fine-limbed, an exciting monographic exhibition dedicated to the leading 20th-century artist. Titled after the principal work on view, Backrest for a fine-limbed person (hare- type) of the 20th century AD (1972–82), the exhibition will present a selection of around forty works by this master of conceptual art, whose birth centenary was celebrated in 2021. Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Institute of Art History, and staged in collaboration with Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, the exhibition will be open from 20 April (press preview 19 April, 10am – 8pm) to 2 October 2022, every day except Tuesdays, providing members of the public with the opportunity to admire these rarely seen works over a long period. The Palazzo Cini Gallery and its permanent collections will remain open until 21 November 2022 ( 

Working across media, Joseph Beuys was one of the most influential, emblematic and multifaceted artists in the second half of the 20th century, and one of the few who was truly capable of making art and life coincide. He considered art as the cure for society's ills: a positive, healing force capable of awakening individual creativity, fostering political awareness and stimulating social change. His socially engaged artistic practice anticipated themes and approaches that, many years later, still seem contemporary and more urgent than ever: the relationship between human beings and nature, the desire for peace, and artistic endeavour as social commitment and spiritual quest. 

The solo show organised by the Fondazione Giorgio Cini Institute of Art History and Thaddaeus Ropac gallery will be installed on the second floor of the Palazzo Cini Gallery. Consisting of forty works, the exhibition will explore two major themes of Beuys’s quest: the body and the human figure; and the important, symbolic role of animals in his visual and conceptual world. The exhibition will feature key early works from the late 1940s and 1950s, alongside a selection of important sculptures and works on paper. 

The exhibition season has been made possible thanks to Assicurazioni Generali, the Gallery’s main partner since it reopened in 2014 and a long-standing patron of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini. The collaboration is the result of a fruitful, enduring relationship stemming from a shared commitment to making culture accessible and enjoyable. 

Joseph Beuys (Krefeld, Germany, 1921 – Düsseldorf , Germany, 1986) became a leading figure in avant-garde contemporary art in the early 1960s. He participated in the initial events organised by the Fluxus group and delivered performance-lectures and educational actions that engaged with wide-ranging political, social, humanitarian and economic interests. He used a variety of highly symbolic materials in his works, which were often intimately connected with the forces of nature and spiritual concerns. A founder of social movements such as the Organisation for Direct Democracy and the Free International University, he participated in the Venice Biennale and documenta in Kassel, and was the subject of an extensive retrospective at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York in 1979. Beuys's works are included in the permanent collections of major museums worldwide. 

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