Voglie vedere i miei montagne

  • 1971
  • Joseph Beuys
  • furniture, various objects, copper sheets, felt, black-and-white photo
  • (geïnstalleerd kunstwerk / installed artwork) 460 x 585 x 788 cm
  • Location not on view.
  • Acquired in 1973
  • Inventory number 603

The Van Abbemuseum Collection consists of over 2800 artworks. We publish texts and images on an ongoing basis, but this record is currently in the process of being documented.

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This work by the German artist Joseph Beuys consists of a number of objects grouped around a lamp which hangs down low above a round felt cloth on the ground. There is also a wardrobe with oval mirrors with a portrait photograph hanging next to it. A rifle and a photograph of a bird are hanging on the wall at the back of the room. There are three objects in front of the wall: a tall narrow trunk, a wooden box with a piece of marsh oak on it and a stool with a round mirror. In addition, there is a cot, with a portrait photograph on the bottom. All the objects are placed on copper plates. The wardrobe and the cot each stand on their own plate, while the three smaller objects share a plate. The plates are joined together with long strips of copper and bolts. Words have been written on the objects in white chalk. In the corners of the room there are four pots of gelatin, which are not placed on copper.

The title of the work, 'Voglie vedere i miei montagne', means “I want to see my mountains.” These are the words which the 19th-century painter Giovanni Segantini uttered on his deathbed in a mountain hut. He asked someone to open the windows so that he could see his beloved Alpine landscape once more. The words on the objects refer to a mountain landscape. The word “Vadrec(t)” on the wardrobe means a glacier valley; the word on the cot is “Valun”, a narrow rocky valley; the word “felsa” on the trunk means rock or rock wall. “Sciora” on the flat box is the name of a mountain in Switzerland. The word “cime” (peaks or mountain tops) and “Pennin” are shown on the back of the mirror. Penninus is the name of a mountain god. The words come from the German, Celtic and Raeto romance languages. In fact, the words in the title are not correct Italian, but it is not clear whether this was intentional.

Joseph Beuys made this installation especially for a room in the Van Abbemuseum. It is his own portrait photograph hanging on the wall and on the cot. The title is important for this work and the artist explained: “The title of the work does not indicate what we see, but asks the question of what there is to see there.” The viewer himself must look for the answer to this question. Beuys often emphasized that he did not work with symbols, but the words that he wrote on all this furniture, together with the title, are very suggestive.

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