Braunkreuz inverted
Braunkreuz inverted, David Donohoe
date : 2004
Video still
Pharmacy shopfront, Barcelona
Braunkreuz, a material invented by Beuys that translates from German as "brown cross," is a substance he began using in the early 1960s. It is an ordinary house paint that he often mixed with the blood of a hare. The end result is an opaque, reddish-brown substance that Beuys did not consider a color, but rather a generic medium for sculptural expression. It became a metaphor for the earth as a protective medium, and it evoked the image of rust, dirt, dried blood, or excrement. As a term, it is loaded with references to Christianity, German militarism, Nazism, emergency, war, and the occult. Beuys often used Braunkreuz both as a natural, practical covering and also in a more shamanistic, magical way, as an insulator of spiritual forms.