Joseph Beuys / Anatol Herzfeld – Handaktion / Steeltable Book+DVD



79 pages book with many images and DVD in digipak sealed inside cardboard slipcase.

Documentation of Beuys performance ‘Handaktion’ with Anatol Herzfeld’s ‘Steel Table’.
“Three steel chairs are arranged around a steel table on which two arm clasps have been fastened in front of each seat. Moreover, for each seat, a small green and a red signal light have been installed.

Anatol’s ‘Stahltisch / Steel Table’ (1969) was part of a staged performance entitled “Drama Stahltisch Handaktion (Eckenaktion)” / “Drama Steel Table Hand-Action (Corner-Action)” with Anatol Herzfeld, Joseph Beuys, and, as participants, Joachim Duckwitz, Ulrich Meister, and Johannes Stüttgen. It took place on January 23, 1969, at the Düsseldorf pub “Cream Cheese.” From a control desk in the corner of the pub, Anatol sent red and green signals to the participants who had their hands fixed on the table: They had to speak as soon as the green light came on; a red light meant they had to be silent. (…)

In its entirety, the Action took about one and a half hours – its agonizing, indeed Kafkaesque character also expressed in its duration. It was accompanied by Beuys’ “Handaktion” / “Hand-Action,” his free acting in a corner of the room, entirely detached from the coercion at the table, a demonstration of freedom of action and communication that commented on the proceedings. It seemed to offer a way out of the situation resulting from the enforced activity at the table.”


> Joseph Beuys