Social Plastic Surgery



Video: 37:59 min, 16:9, colour, sound, German with English subtitles, edition of 5, II
11 photographs: inkjet prints on fine art paper, (4 motifs 30 x 45 cm, 2 motifs 75 x 50 cm,
4 motifs 150 x 100 cm, 1 motif 150 x 215 cm), edition of 5, II
Banner: UV print on textile, 370 x 542 cm, edition of 3, I
Sculpture: 3D printed skull with audio guide from press tour

10 posters: offset print on poster paper, each 118.9 x 84.1 cm, edition of 5, II

To reach more people with his ideas, Joseph Beuys issued multiples in large editions, which reflect his belief in the socially healing power of art. On the occasion of Beuys’s centenary, Jankowski refocuses that vision on a growing contemporary field of aesthetic intervention: plastic surgery.

In the video, collectors of Beuys multiples perform a script based on interviews with plastic surgery patients. In the scripting process, the artist replaced references to surgical operations with the titles of Beuys multiples, and the names of the doctors with that of Joseph Beuys. Identities are merged, professions exchanged, and links between cosmetic medicine and the transformative potential of art are encouraged to come to the surface. 

The mixed-media installation Social Plastic Surgery was created for the exhibition ‘Passierschein in die Zukunft’ at Kunstmuseum Bonn in 2021, which brought together a comprehensive exhibition of Beuys’s multiples with contemporary artistic positions.

Christian Jankowski, Social Plastic Surgery, 2021
Christian Jankowski, Social Plastic Surgery, 2021
Installation view of the work Social Plastic Surgery in Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2021.