Wooden Postcard


  • 1974
  • Silkscreen on pine
    10.5 x 15 x 3.3 cm
  • Edition: unlimited, unsigned, unnumbered; approx. 600 copies signed and some stamped
  • Publisher: Edition Staeck, Heidelberg
  • Catalogue Raisonné No.: 104

Between the late 1960s and his death in 1986, Beuys and his Heidelberg-based publisher Klaus Staeck produced more than a hundred postcard multiples. While most of these were made from paper, Wooden Postcard was, as its name suggests, created from a block of solid wood. It belongs to a small group of postcards that were produced from unorthodox materials, including felt, PVC plastic, iron and sulphur. In contrast to a standard postcard, which conveys information through the image on its front face and the writing on its rear side, these cards also communicate through the substances from which they were created, each of which possessed a symbolic significance for Beuys.1

Wooden Postcard alludes to Beuys’s interest in promoting a more intimate relationship between humanity and the natural world. Regarding nature as a locus of spiritual energies, from which humanity had grown distant in the modern era, he attempted in his art to restore this lost contact. Fashioned as it is from a natural substance, Wooden Postcard imparts its energies to each of its senders and receivers.

  1. On the role of postcards within Beuys’s work, see Helmut Gold and Margret Baumann (eds.), ‘Wer nicht denken will fliegt raus.’ Joseph Beuys Postkarten (Berlin: Edition Braus, 1998). 

    Photo 1

    © Mario Gastinger, Photographics, Munich

    Flag1974 American Hare Sugar 1974