jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 woman in tub, 1988 porcelain 60,3 x 91,4 x 68,6 cm privatsammlung image © designboom jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2

jeff koons fondation beyeler, basel, switzerland on now through september 2nd, 2012

fondation beyeler is the first swiss art institution to dedicate an exhibition to distinguished american artist jeff koons. the retrospective focuses on three central collections – ‘the new’, ‘banality’ and ‘celebration’ – formed by koons over the course of his artistic practice which began in the 1980s.

‘the new’ is koons’ earliest body of work, composed of readymade-like cleaning appliances. ‘celebration’ is a series of high-gloss steel sculptures and large-format paintings in which koons addresses childhood in a baroque way, and which he has continued to develop extensively over the last 20 years.

the showcase is a culmination of the various themes in which koons’ has worked with, offering a survey of the contrasting materials and aesthetics he has utilized in his art, all of which create a sense of nostalgia, the mammoth-sized figures and forms, making the viewer feel small in relation, much like a child in a fantastical world.

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 woman in tub, 1988 porcelain 60,3 x 91,4 x 68,6 cm privatsammlung image © designboom

in 1988, koons created ‘banality’, his most groundbreaking collection of sculptures crafted in porcelain and wood which have since become (post-)modern icons. the series’ central theme is that of the association between human and animal which characterizes many of the pieces which are based on concepts of innocence and guilt, expressed through aesthetic means of the forgiveness of sins and the dissolution of the notion of guilt, whereby the frequent recourse to saints or individuals associated with sacredness can be seen. the overall imagery represented through ‘banality’ is derived from renaissance and baroque art, popular culture and the world of toys and postcards, transforming in scale, medium or material from sculpture to sculpture, making his work accessible reflecting koons’ ideal that art reconciles all oppositions in order to reach as large of an audience as possible.

see PART 1 of designboom’s coverage of jeff koons at the beyeler foundation.

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 cat on a clothesline (aqua), 1994-2001 rotationally molded polyethylene 312,4 x 279,4 x 127 cm besitz des künstlers image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 popples, 1998 porcelain 74,3 x 58,4 x 30,5 cm sammlung scharpff image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 fait d’hiver, 1988 porcelain 49,5 x 160 x 80 cm the rachel and jean-pierre lehmann collection image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 pink panther, 1988 porcelain 104,1 x 52,1 x 48,3 cm courtesy of the brant foundation, greenwich, connecticut image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 stacked, 1988 polychromed wood 154,9 x 134,6 x 78,7 cm privatsammlung image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 ushering in banality, 1988 polychromed wood 96,5 x 157,5 x 76,2 cm privatsammlung image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 winter bears, 1988 polychromed wood 121,9 x 111,8 x 39,4 cm the rachel and jean-pierre lehmann collection image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 michael jackson and bubbles, 1988 porcelain 106,7 x 179,1 x 82,6 cm the broad art foundation, santa monica image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 naked, 1988 porcelain 115,6 x 68,6 x 68,6 cm privatsammlung image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 serpents, 1988 porcelain 59,7 x 86,4 x 50,8 cm rubell family collection, miami image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 bear and policeman, 1988 polychromed wood 215,9 x 109,2 x 94 cm kunstmuseum wolfsburg image © designboom

jeff koons at the beyeler foundation   part 2 buster keaton, 1988 polychromed wood 167 x 127 x 67,3 cm the sonnabend collection image © designboom