Felt and Fat

Fat Felt Sculpture (Fat Battery), Joseph Beuys 1963, MoMA.

“….and as they were searching through the metal that was lying on top of me, and when they found me and were all standing around me I then said – woda, someone should give me water – and then I blacked out. I only regained consciousness basically after twelve days, and at that point I was already lying in a German field hospital. But while there – all the images, they... entered into me… The tents, you know they had felt tents, and the movement of the people, and the fat, in any case that is like. …a completely common smell in the houses… the way they handle it”.

Joseph Beuys in Ermen R. Joseph Beuys, 30.

I like America and America Likes Me, Joseph Beuys 1974.

“Had it not been for the Tartars I would not be alive today. They were the nomads of the Crimea, in what was then no man’s land between the Russian and German fronts. I had already struck up a good relationship with them, and often wandered off to sit with them. Their nomadic ways attracted me of course, although by that time their movements had been severely restricted. Yet it was they who discovered me in the snow after the crash, when the German search parties had given up. I was still unconscious then and only came round completely after twelve days or so. So the memories I have of that time are images that penetrated my consciousness. I remember the felt of their tents, and the dense, pungent smell of cheese, fat, and milk. They covered my body in fat to help it regenerate warmth, and wrapped it in felt as an insulator to keep warmth in”.

Joseph Beuys in Wenzel E. & Beuys J., Joseph Beuys, 270.