This multiple, a relic of Joseph Beuys’ action Felt TV (1966), is composed of three props (the boxing gloves, felt pad, and sausage) and a film of the performance. In the 11-minute film, Beuys explored metaphors of communication and energy through the medium of television. As the TV broadcast a talk show, Beuys blocked the image with a felt pad, then punched himself in the face while wearing the gloves, as if the information from the television were assaulting him and meeting with resistance. He carved the sausage into a swordlike shape and moved it over the felt like a stethoscope, then dabbed it on the walls of the room. He ended by pushing the television against the wall, hanging a large felt pad on the wall, and leaving the room.
Beuys explained this cryptic work in terms of opposites. An actor sits opposite the television. Its screen is doubled with a felt “anti-image” that obstructs information. Finally, a second felt pad stands in for artists. In the end, the television is abandoned: a transmitter without a receiver. “The observer himself is very much as important as what comes out of the box,” Beuys stated.
This acquisition continues the Walker’s aim of acquiring works in depth by artists to whom the museum has a long-term commitment. Felt TV joins a collection of more than 400 multiples by Beuys that the Walker acquired in 1992.