"Bis die Maus im Haus ist (Until the Mouse Is in the House)", 1983
Photo montage with spherical mirrors
9.06 x 22.05 x 3.94 in
Beuys' stamp top right on photograph,
signed bottom by Luther and Beuys "Luther Beuys"
verso signed by hand probably by Adolf Luther,
titled top left "Bis die Maus im Haus ist",
titled top right "Die Leuchtblicke des Joseph B.",
numbered bottom right "10/12"
Über das Werk
Appearing on the photograph of this edition next to Joseph Beuys, is Heiner Stachelhaus, who as a staff member of the Neue Ruhr Zeitung from the 1960s to the late 1990s, was one of the most well-known art critics in the region. He frequently travelled to exhibitions featuring artists such as Heinz Mack, Otto Piene, Günther Uecker, Adolf Luther or Bernard Schultze and enjoyed close friendships with many of them.
The photo for this work originated in 1978, when Joseph Beuys, Heiner Stachelhaus and Adolf Luther were invited by Wilhelm Hack to visit him in Ludwigshaven: "On the journey there, Luther took a photo of Beuys and Stachelhaus sitting next to each other in the train. Not until some months later did he have the prints developed, which, however, turned out laterally reversed. Luther then ordered another set of "correct" prints. By means of a playful combination of the "wrong" and "right" prints, Stachelhaus suddenly appeared accompanied on each side by two Beuys. This inspired Luther to suggest the two cooperate to develop an idea, which Beuys also found amusing. So they agreed to collaborate on a project. (…) "The year 80 was chosen, since, at the time, none of us wanted to specify exactly when the trip to Ludwigshaven had actually taken place."1
An historic document, this art object was then created by Adolf Luther in an edition of 12 in Krefeld, with each copy bearing slight differences: some were made from glass or mirror fragments, others included felt strips. Only in the object cabinet of Exemplar No.1 is there a preserved dead mouse, as a reference to Beuys: The work belongs to the Adolf-Luther-Stiftung, whose director Magdalena Broska explained the multiples as follows: "The duplication of Joseph Beuys, to the right and left of Heiner Stachelhaus, alludes to Luther's mirror motif, the glass strips or fragments to the application of his favoured, technoid materials, glass and mirror. In contrast, the mouse represents Joseph Beuys' quite different, organic concept of material. Both artists, Joseph Beuys und Adolf Luther, represent two completely different concepts of art in Germany's post-war avantgarde. This finds its witty manifestation in this multiple, which originated from a spontaneous idea and the Dadaistic humour of the artists during their trip together."2
1 Heiner Stachelhaus: "Zum Beuys-Luther-Objekt", in: exh.cat. "Joseph Beuys, Zeichnungen - Skulptur -Objekte - Multiples", Galerie Heinz Holtmann, Cologne 1989, 110.
2 Email from Magdalena Broska, dated 15. 9. 2009, quoted from: Günter Herzog: "Heiner Stachelhaus", in: ZADIK (ed.), Heiner Stachelhaus, Nuremberg 2009, 67.