2021 marks the 100th anniversary of Joseph Beuys‘ birth. In the course of the large-scale celebrations for the anniversary year, JSC Düsseldorf presents the 16mm film Soziale Plastik by Lutz Mommartz. Shot in 1969 in the director’s Düsseldorf apartment, the film shows nothing more or less then the face of Joseph Beuys. In the eleven-minute close-up of the artist, he directs his gaze through the camera to his audience. Due to the immense concentration and piercing intensity of the portrayed person, the viewer is exposed to a physical experience that inevitably makes him*her part of the installation. Film space and exhibition space connect with each other. At the same time, Beuys‘ focusing eyes—seen from our current perspective—seem to bring the past together with the present. Then as now, Lutz Mommartz’s film, through the camera view taken to extremes here, is to be understood as an explicit invitation to direct engagement with our counterpart, and not least because of this, as relevant today as it was at the time of its creation.
Lutz Mommartz (*1934) lives and works in Düsseldorf. The work of the experimental filmmaker is currently being shown in a large retrospective at the Kunsthalle Düsseldorf.