The author offers an analysis of selected aspects of the art of Joseph Beuys focusing on his treatment of memory. Memory, argues the author, can be conceived after Sigmund Freud as an active structure embedded in psyche, or after Mircea Eliade as a power to bring us back to our origins in order to give us a chance to achieve a mystic rebirth. In the case of Beuys, says the author, memory appears both as anamnesis that helps to retrieve a lost universe and as a process that permits to rework personal traumas and injuries caused by civilisation. In his biography and through his art Beuys proposes a model behaviour to prove that a creative and self-conscious existence can also be achieved in a struggle with uneasy past. He thereby fulfils the ideals of the Theory of Social Sculpture.