Felt Suit


  • 1970
  • Felt, sewn; stamped.
    170 x 60 cm
  • Dimensions: Approx. 170 x 60 cm
  • Edition: 100 plus 10 h.c., numbered, unsigned
  • Publisher: Galerie René Block, Berlin
  • Catalogue Raisonné No.: 26

The Felt Suit multiple is among the most memorable works by Beuys to feature felt, one of his trademark artistic materials. As Beuys stressed throughout his career, he regarded felt as a spiritual ‘insulator,’ capable of preserving warm energy. Regarding this energy as a catalyst for creativity, Beuys believed that it could help humanity effect social and spiritual progress.1 Beuys regarded the Felt Suit as an extension of his felt sculptures, and thus as ‘an object that should definitely not be worn.’2 Nonetheless, he did wear it himself occasion — in the performance Action the dead mouse/Isolation Unit, that he staged with Terry Fox at the State Art Academy in Düsseldorf in November 1970.3 In this context the suit acquired overtones of insulation and also of isolation. As Beuys himself remarked in this connection: ‘[O]n one hand [the Felt Suit] is a house, a cave insulating the person from everything else. On the other hand, it is a symbol of the isolation of the person in our time.’4

  1. Jörg Schellmann and Bernd Klüser, Questions to Joseph Beuys, in: Jörg Schellmann (ed.), Joseph Beuys: The Multiples (Munich, New York: Edition Schellmann, 1997), 16.  

  2. Ibid. 

  3. See Uwe M. Schneede, Joseph Beuys. Die Aktionen (Ostfildern-Ruit: Verlag Gerd Hatje, 1994), S. 306 

  4. Beuys in Keto von Waberer, ‘Das Nomadische spielt eine Rolle von Anfang an. Interview mit Joseph Beuys’ [The nomadic plays a part from the very beginning. Interview with Joseph Beuys], in: Carl Haenlein (ed.), Joseph Beuys. Eine Innere Mongolei (Kestner-Gesellschaft: Hannover, 1990) 206.  

    Photos 1, 2

    © H. Koyupinar, Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen

    Vacuum↔Mass1970 Display Boards for Instruction I and II 1971