The exhibition “Capital: Debt – Territory – Utopia” revolves around Joseph Beuys‘s pioneering work The Capital Space 1970–1977, made for the Venice Biennale in 1980. This monumental work, here exhibited in Berlin for the first time, is among the most important environments in Beuys’s oeuvre. As the symbol of his constant search for liveable alternatives, it sums up his artistic work of the 1970s. During this period, Beuys developed a new definition of capital: released from its relation to money, his new conception put the creative potential of human beings at the centre of economic thought: “Art = Capital”.
In the shadow of the post-2007 financial crisis, this exhibition ranges widely in both space and time. It undertakes an experiment, seeking to grasp Beuys’s paradigm shift and systematically explore his concept of capital. By juxtaposing contemporary artworks with representative exhibits from the rich collections of the Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, the exhibition poses urgent questions: what is capital, what was it, and, above all, what could it be? Using artworks, music, films and objects from all over the world, the exhibition traces the essence of value.