The Invincible

[Der Unbesiegbare]

Designed by Johannes Stüttgen, Beuys’s former student and assistant, this poster was produced for the German Green Party, for whom Beuys campaigned as a candidate in the 1979 European elections.1 The work’s main motif is a photograph by Ute Klophaus, which depicts a small sculpture by Beuys from the early 1960s, also entitled ‘The Invincible’.2 It consists of a toy soldier, whose rifle is levelled at a plasticine hare. Contrary to a real-life scenario, the hare is much larger than the soldier, and therefore feels far from helpless. Securely settled on its haunches, it faces squarely in the soldier’s direction, showing no signs of fear from his attack. Discussing this image in 1973, Beuys made the basis for this confidence clear:

Here the hare is represented as enormous with respect to an aggressor, seemingly unconquerable… The one who appears there as a hare is unconquerable, unconquerable because of its activity…3

Enormous and implacable, yet still in possession of its inborn swiftness and agility, the hare has the resources needed to withstand humanity’s aggression. It was thus a fitting symbol of the Green Party’s ecological principles.

  1. On Beuys’s involvement with the German Green Party, see H.P. Riegel, Beuys: Die Biographie (Berlin: Aufbau Verlag, 2013), 479–494. 

  2. This work, dated ca. 1962, is now housed in the ‘Block Beuys,’ a permanent installation of Beuys’s work at the Hessisches Landesmuseum, Darmstadt. 

  3. Beuys in Wulf Herzogenrath (ed.), Selbstdarstellung: Künstler über sich (Düsseldorf: Droste Verlag, 1973), 25. 

    Photo 1

    © Mario Gastinger, Photographics, Munich

    Katalog Museum Mönchengladbach 1967