Keith Haring, acrylic on canvas, 1984

Keith Haring quickly made a worldwide rise with his signature style. In his work, which often shows optimism, there is also his underlying criticism with which he conveys a social message. His versatile oeuvre brings out all kinds of worldly aspects: politics, drugs, media, sexuality, religion, death,… In the mid-1980s, AIDS caused a stir within the gay community. Keith Haring was also affected by this disease a few years later and, as it were, predicted his fate.

‘Heaven and Hell’ became one of his most powerful works of art in which his self-image is destroyed under the spell of Thanatos and Eros. From Greek mythology he refers to his inner struggle between his sexual lust for life and his fear of death. The dramatically monumental work emphasizes the limits of his sexual self-determination. Ending in a disruptive scene, the purgatory of hell, as if the irony of a punishment from God.


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