Joseph Beuys and Buckminster Fuller might seem strange bedfellows. Yet the paths of these two influential figures—Beuys, the storied leader of a Fluxus-inspired social revolution in art-making; Fuller, the enigmatic architect and dreamer of a new humanist world view—did overlap in 1974 at Edinburgh’s Royal Botanical Gardens.
Now, they meet again in Robert Duchesnay’s exhibition “Le Studio et l’Anti-Studio de Joseph Beuys et Buckminster Fuller,” which closes this week at Plein Sud in Longueuil.
Ground zero for Duchesnay’s connection of the two is 1984. In October of that year, Duchesnay had arranged a meeting with Beuys in his Düsseldorf Academy of Art studio that, as it turned out, went awry when he arrived to find that Beuys had cancelled due to illness. Still, Duchesnay was granted permission to photograph the artist’s empty studio, resulting in a fascinating series of images that reveal the inner workings and variable inspirations—including Elvis Presley—of a visionary mind. As the exhibition catalogue explains, these photos “stand as the most extensive visual documentation of the studio in existence.”