Stamp Sculpture


  • 1982
  • Vinyl postcards and Hauptstrom stamp
    19 x 10.5 x 15 cm
  • Edition: 35 plus III plus 3 a.p., signed and numbered
  • Publisher: Edition Staeck, Heidelberg
  • Catalogue Raisonné No.: 417

Stamp Sculpture highlights Beuys’s penchant for reusing his existing artworks in the context of new creations. It consists of a stack of PVC postcards atop which sits a stamp. The cards are copies of a multiple called Honey Is Flowing, which was published in 1974. 


Honey is Flowing, 1980
Silkscreen on vinyl sheet
10.5 x 15 x 0.3 cm
Edition: unlimited, unsigned, unnumbered; approx. 800 copies signed
Publisher: Edition Staeck, Heidelberg
Photo: © Mario Gastinger, Photographics, Munich

Through the simple acts of stacking and aggregation, Beuys used Stamp Sculpture to broadcast his social aspirations. This theme was already the focus of Honey Is Flowing, a translucent sheet of yellow PVC, embossed with the phrase ‘honey is flowing in all directions.’ This inscription and the PVC itself allude to honey, which Beuys employed as a symbol for human love. They also make reference to bees, whose cooperative existence he took as a model for a forward-looking human society. Beuys derived these ideas from Rudolf Steiner, who argued that the life of the beehive, in which every insect forms part of a cohesive super-organism, could serve as a source of inspiration for humanity. This kind of harmony, Steiner claimed, required a more loving relationship between individuals. In the case of bees, he saw this love expressed through their creation of honey, the warmth-infusing product of their daily labours and the single-minded focus of their existence.1 Responding to Steiner’s ideas, Beuys often referenced honey in his art, with the Honey is Flowing postcard forming one important instance of this practice. Since each card functions as a bearer and transmitter of loving energy, the many layers of Stamp Sculpture transform the work into a reservoir of warmth, which its owners can elect to disperse, like flowing honey, ‘in all directions.’
The ‘Main Stream’ [Hauptstrom] stamp on the stack displays a circle with the word ‘Hauptstrom’ and various typographical symbols – two double wedges, an arrow, a colon, the symbols for magnet, cross and earth. Beuys had used this insignia since 1968 to allude to the flow of energy. The stamp can thus be understood as an appeal to set the energies contained within the stack in motion.

  1. The Functioning of Spirit in Nature and in Man. The Being of Bees. Published in German as, Mensch und Welt. Das Wirken des Geistes in der Natur. Über das Wesen der Bienen. Vorträge für die Arbeiter am Goetheanumbau. Band 5 

    Photo 1

    © Mario Gastinger, Photographics, Munich

    Katalog Museum Mönchengladbach 1967