Joseph Beuys: From the Secret Block to Rosc

  • Exhibitions

17 July 2021 – 24 April 2022

Admission Free

Explore the Irish legacy of legendary German artist Joseph Beuys.

Hugh Lane Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition exploring Joseph Beuys’s work in Ireland. At the centre of the exhibition are three blackboards that the artist created in the Hugh Lane Gallery in 1974. Beuys wrote and drew on the blackboards while giving a lecture during the exhibition of his drawings, The Secret Block for a Secret Person in Ireland. The Secret Block exhibition also travelled to the Ulster Museum, Belfast, and Beuys gave similar lectures across the island of Ireland, provoking excitement, inspiration, denunciation, and bewilderment in turn.

Alongside the blackboards you can discover photographs by Caroline Tisdall of Beuys’s visit to Ireland in 1974. Many of these have not been exhibited or published before. We also have on view Bill Porter’s photographs of the lecture at the Ulster Museum.


  • Profile

    The German artist was hugely influential on contemporary art in the second half of the twentieth century, though his teaching, his engagement with social and political concerns and his symbolic use of materials. He had a particular interest in the Celtic world and in Irish myth, literature and landscapes as sources for cultural renewal and healing.

    Beuys remained an inspirational force in Ireland throughout the 1970s and 80s. His work was included in the 1977 Rosc exhibition at the Hugh Lane Gallery, and in Rosc ’84 at the Guinness Visitor Centre.

    2021 is the centenary of the birth of Joseph Beuys. See beuys2021.de for details of global events marking this centenary.


View a conversation with Professor Richard Demarco, exploring Beuys’s legacy.

Explore our extraordinary collection of modern and contemporary art through our online collection.

Kneeling Figure – Back View Francis Bacon 1982