Joseph Beuys
„Palazzo Regale“
December 1985

This installation embodies the artistic legacy that Beuys imparted to us. In Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, he arranged in two vitrines what represented, for him, the most important objects of his Werklauf, or artistic career. The seven “blind” brass mirrors on the walls convey a presentiment of the departure was soon to follow. Beuys died in Düsseldorf only three weeks later.

The vitrines’ contents emphasize two elements that were always incorporated in his work and that, as Beuys believed, ought to be present in all human acts: the ceremonial quality of the feeling of our own sovereignty in our lives and in the gestures we perform, and the poverty that is inherent in the acts and the work of each individual moment. All of this is expressed calmly, without fuss or fury, in this installation. Those same elements are echoed in the design of the “Palazzo Regale” (Royal Palace) and the case cantoniere. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to accompany him as photographer while he was creating his final great work. It was at his request that I first began photographing case cantoniere. Our intention was to use the photographs in the creation of a joint project, but unfortunately that never came to pass.

Beuys quotation: “The first time I came to Naples, I thought, ‘I have come home.’ Everything that I have done here exists in association with the idea of the catastrophe, which is always there, specifically in the south. If each and every one of us were to invent something, the Mezzogiorno would become a happy land once again, a fertile clime for creativity.”

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