February 6 – April 8, 2018

Materializations of the body in the Beyeler Collection

The first 2018 presentation of the collection at the Fondation Beyeler focuses in particular on the major artistic themes of material and body. It explores the question of what materials can be used in art in which ways, and of how materials thereby transform into “bodies”—whether in the sense of the human or animal body, or as bodies in the sense of the art work as object.

Paintings and sculptures from classic modernism up to the present are here brought together with contemporary works of object-based art. Unconventional dialogues are fostered between works, as Henri Rousseau meets Maurizio Cattelan, for example, or as Piet Mondrian and Alexander Calder encounter Félix González-Torres. At the same time, Claude Monet’s large waterlily paintings are juxtaposed with the iconic sculptures of Alberto Giacometti, and the abstract paintings of Barnett Newman, Willem de Kooning and Clyfford Still.

Showing concurrently with the Georg Baselitz retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler, the presentation of the collection makes reference in several places to the important German post-war artist, in whose oeuvre materiality likewise plays a foreground role. One such link is established, for example, by the display of non-European art works from Africa, Oceania and Alaska, since Baselitz himself owns a substantial collection of African art. The presentation also spotlights the late work of Pablo Picasso, from which Baselitz has regularly drawn inspiration for his own paintings.

With the Georg Baselitz show in mind, the presentation also features representative works by all those German artists in the collection who have profoundly influenced 20th-century Western art. These giants of modernism start with Wassily Kandinsky and Max Ernst, followed by Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Anselm Kiefer, and continue right up to artists of the younger generation, such as Neo Rauch and Thomas Schütte.

In this wide-ranging presentation, viewers are granted another unique insight into the wealth and variety of the Beyeler Collection, at the same time as discovering pivotal long-term loans from private collections.