Split-Rocker, 2000/2012, at the Fondation Beyeler, Photo: Andri Pol
Split-Rocker, 2000/2012, at the Fondation Beyeler, Photo: Andri Pol

Split-Rocker at the Fondation Beyeler from May until autumn 2012.

Split-Rocker, a colossal floral sculpture by the American artist Jeff Koons (b. 1955), comprising thousands and thousands of real plants, will be on view in the Fondation Beyeler park. The sculpture continues the compelling dialogue between art and nature that has become so characteristic of the Fondation Beyeler. Split-Rocker was first installed in 2000, in the cloister of the Palais des Papes in Avignon, then again a few years later in the gardens of Versailles (2008). Now Split- Rocker has begun to flourish in Riehen.

For his floral sculpture, Koons proceeded from two different rocker motifs, a pony and a dinosaur, whose heads he cut in half and then reassembled. Since the halves do not coincide, gaps are formed at certain places which open the sculpture out and transform it into an architecture that offers refuges. A disassembled and differently reassembled figure that simultaneously looks forward and to the side, Split-Rocker relates to the Cubism of Picasso while at the same time turning it in an entirely new direction. As a floral outdoor sculpture, the piece also continues the tradition of Baroque garden art and the topiary gardening still seen today in popular amusement parks.

With the combination of pony and dinosaur, Split-Rocker embodies that confrontation of opposites that is also expressed in the notion of a "monstrous" , gigantic children's toy. Yet the artist chooses transitory flowers, of all things, as the material for a monument that promises duration. It is not least in this special interplay of supposed opposites that the true tension and force of Koons's art lie.

The Split-Rocker project was made possible by the generous support of JTI.

Interview with Jeff Koons about the "Split-Rocker"