FACE TO FACE WITH GUSTAV KLIMT
with Bas van Beek
Curator: Charles Esche
Artist: Bas van Beek
Having come Face to Face with old masters Rembrandt and Frans Hals, Van Abbemuseum visitors to this third display in the series were confronted with works by the more modern master, Gustav Klimt (1862-1918, Vienna). Contemporary artist and designer, Bas van Beek (1974, Nijmegen) transformed the Van Abbemuseum projects gallery into a complete experience, in which he combined the art of Klimt with furniture and huge tiles of Van Beek’s own creation.
THE BEETHOVEN FRIEZE
A spectacular part of the exhibition was the perfect, full-scale copy of Klimt’s famous Beethoven Frieze, created for the Belvedere museum in Vienna which premiered for the first time internationally at Face to Face with Gustav Klimt. Spanning 34 metres, the symbolic artwork from 1902 depicts the suffering of weak humanity and its longing for happiness, captured in Klimt’s luxuriant signature style.
VIENNA OF THE EARLY 20TH CENTURY
The more melancholy side to Klimt was expressed in three dark, intense paintings. Photographs of Klimt and his creative environment transported the visitor to early 20th-century Vienna, where lavish ornamentation and symbolism were embraced, and represented an alternative to the sober inclination of the more abstract art movements of the period.
Van Beek based his designs on those of artists, architects and designers inspired by Klimt and the notion of the Gesamtkunstwerk.