Strangers apparently stole a sculpture by the artist Beuys and brought it to Tanzania. They posted a video of the fact on the Internet.

The artists’ group “Frankfurter Hauptschule” claimed responsibility for the theft of a sculpture by Joseph Beuys (1921-1986) from an exhibition in Oberhausen. Theater Oberhausen, where the exhibition has been on view since 10 October entitled “Pollution. Body conditions. Fascism. Christoph Schlingensief and art”, confirmed the loss of the work “Battery Capri” on Thursday. A press release said: “The artwork is no longer in its place.”

According to a spokeswoman, the police have received a complaint. The work is on loan from the LWL Museum for Art and Culture in Münster. According to a spokeswoman, the house in Münster has requested a written statement about the loss from Theater Oberhausen. The exhibition in Oberhausen was closed on Thursday.

Restoration to former German colony

According to a statement from the artist group, the work was brought to Tanzania. There it should now be displayed in a permanent exhibition alongside traditional craftsmanship from an ethnic group. “Under the colonial regime, works of art, cultural objects and skulls were stolen from Hehe leaders of Iringa and brought to Germany in uncontrollable numbers,” says the letter of responsibility for the campaign entitled “Bad Beuys go Africa”. The theft is a kind of redemption to the former German colony of Tanzania.

A trip to Tanzania is shown in a confession video. However, it is impossible to say whether it is an artwork from Oberhausen. According to a spokeswoman for the museum in Münster, this is a so-called multiple. Beuys did not manufacture the “Capri battery” as a single piece, but several times. According to the catalog raisonné, the artwork from 1985 has an edition of 200 pieces. It is signed and numbered and shows a lemon on a black lamp holder with a yellow light bulb.

According to its own information, the Frankfurt Hauptschule has about 20 members. Most of them are young art students from the Frankfurt am Main region. The collective has provoked controversial actions in the past. In August 2019, the group threw toilet paper into Goethe’s garden house in Weimar, in protest at the image of the poet of women in his works.

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