More than forty years ago, John Lennon and Yoko Ono got
into bed to protest against the war. The world's most popular
artist couple of that time made their honeymoon public by stating:
""Make love, not war!"". Simultaneously, the bed turned into a
political instrument of visual art.
The exhibition Sleepless. Beds in History and
Contemporary Art focuses on the historical as well as
iconographic significance of the depiction of the bed and will
include and juxtapose paintings, sculptures, drawings, photos, and
video works spanning from old masters to present-day artists,
subdivided into themes and arranged according to visual
As the territory of birth, love, illness, and death and as
the most anthropomorphic shape in the history of all civilizations,
beds are possibly one of the most reproduced objects in art and one
of the most common metaphors for the human condition. The vast
majority of people are born on beds; one can even claim that the
inexplicable miracle of life starts on a bed.
Many artists made use of the bed's idiosyncratic shape in
their work, from Nobuyoshi Araki, Diane Arbus, Lucian Freud, and
Yayoi Kusama to Jannis Kounellis, Antoni TÃ pies, Rosemarie Trockel,
Egon Schiele, JÃ¼rgen Teller, or Franz West, and Rachel Whiteread.
Others, as Tracey Emin, Mona Hatoum, Damien Hirst, Jim Lambie, and
Sarah Lucas demonstrate, used the bed as a ready-made itself.