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Azione 7000 querce, Documenta Kassel 7, 1982

Joseph Beuys + Italy / The Defense of Nature

by Giorgio Conti

2004. Twenty years have passed since the Defense of Nature operation promoted by Joseph Beuys in Abruzzo, an italian region.
Even though this philosophical-artistic-socio-cultural-scientific action was conceived in Italy, there have been few initiatives to remember the event. And yet, that title/programme has become an all-too general slogan, it is no longer the prerogative of exclusively environmental associations.
The reflections that follow mark out the role that Italy has played in redefining the poetry and philosophy of Beuys and especially his "expanded" concept of art: art = man = creativity = science. The reflections were written down in 1997 in order to make it clear that, if it is true that Andy Warhol has created a global image of 20th Century Western society, Beuys donated a strategic vision of criticality and potentiality of the 21st.

Within the vision of Nature and the world of Beuysian thinking, the central theme is energy.
A natural energy, stated in the cosmic/alchemic sense: "We plant trees and the trees then plant us". A global defence of natural cycles (the temporal dimension) and especially that of biodiversity, intended as protection of local and global ecosystems (the spatial dimension).
A vital energy that in Social sculpture becomes an anthem to human creativity: a concept broadened of the artistic work.
A primary art, anthropological, which, even today, is able to dialogue with research into a new developmental model pertaining to the strategies of integrated environmental, economic, socio-cultural and ethical sustainability.
His proposal of a Third path represents a welding between criticality-potentiality extra humans (the privileged relationship man-Nature) and of criticality-potentiality among humans (the overcoming of conflicts both at a local and global level).
Even the materials used in his works and/or performances are the fruit of energetic processes or contain energetic elements: sulphur, bee's wax, fat, felt, copper, etc., right on till we get to blood: the metaphor for antonomasia of Life.
The concept of Freedom, furthermore, shows a sense of the value of original energy throughout the works and thoughts of Beuys, in that they are able to rejuvenate and stimulate - through creativity - the resources of natural organisms (ecosystems), and of the single organism (the human being), as well as the social organisms (humanity).

"To liberate people is the goal of art, therefore, for me art represents the science of freedom".

Kassel, Paesaggio urbano contemporaneo, prodotto dell' Azione 7000 querce Difesa della Natura, Francobollo della Repubblica di S.Marino, 2004 Scultura Sociale, New York, 1974 L. De Domizio, Joseph Beuys, Difesa della Natura, Quadrante ed., Torino, 1988 Copertina conti1_foto8.jpg