Gianluca Costantini
A Drawn Biography on Joseph Beuys

Joseph Beuys at a rehearsal for Titus Andronicus, Iphigenia in Tauris

One of Joseph Beuys’ most powerful performances was Titus Andronicus/Iphigenie, performed on 30 May 1969 in the Theater am Turm in Frankfurt, for Experimenta 3. Wearing a fur coat, Beuys appeared on a darkened stage with a shining white horse. He used the myth and the drama of Iphigenia to draw attention to the freedom and the creativity of the individual. Here, William Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus (1589-92), with its excessive violence and cruelty, reminiscent (in the context of this performance) of Nazi crimes, is linked with Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s Iphigenie auf Tauris (1779), in which Iphigenia – the personification of humanity – redeems her brother Orestes through her love and her forgiveness.

Joseph Beuys