Arena—Dove sarei arrivato se fossi stato intelligente! (Arena—where would I have got if I had been intelligent!) consists of 100 panels with 264 photographs covering the span of Joseph Beuys’s career up to 1972, including documentation of key objects, concerts, and actions, as well as personal life events. Ranging from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, Arena constitutes less an autobiographical statement than an allegorical portrait of Beuys’s artistic persona.
As with many of Beuys’s works, Arena was developed and modified over several years, shifting in layout as well as panel ordering and number, with each installation specific to the situation of the gallery. The exhibition at Dia Center for the Arts was the first time the work had been shown in its entirety since 1973. The posthumous installation of Arena was necessarily an interpretative act, with the work arranged in a sympathetic relation to the new site while attempting to maintain the spirit of Beuys’s final installation design. The sequencing of the panels was largely determined according to the order devised in 1973.
Joseph Beuys was born in Krefeld, Germany, in 1921. He died in Düsseldorf in 1986.
Joseph Beuys: Arena—where would I have got if I had been intelligent!
Comprising one hundred panels, two stacks of fat and metal plates, and an oil can, Arena—where would I have got if I had been intelligent! (1970/72), a major autobiographical work by Joseph Beuys, is documented here in this comprehensive, scholarly book for the first time in detail.