Art Basel 2018 is here! In the below blog post, I present 5 of my favourite artworks from Art Basel Unlimited 2018 in Basel. Curated by Gianni Jetzer, it gives space to 72 artists to showcase the complexity of today’s identities and provides a meaningful exchange.
What is special: the voices of African Contemporary artists covering personal or universal matters throughout Unlimited.
1. Rashid Johnson, Antoine’s Organ (2016)
Rashid Johnson’s largest grid installation in the United States to date, ‘Antoine’s Organ’ (2016) injects a sprawling, heterogeneous ecosystem into a rigid armature of black steel scaffolding. Visually evoking prison cells and Sol LeWitt’s open Minimalist cubes alike, ‘Antoine’s Organ’ plays on the structure of the grid and the form’s associations with containment, rigor, and organization. Building upon these constraints as it subverts them, Johnson’s latticed construction teems with a lively bricolage of potted plants, shea butter busts, video monitors playing looped films, ornate rugs, music, carefully selected stacks of books, and a fully functioning piano. Johnson’s soaring sculptural installation functions through organic accumulation, growth, and the delight of unexpected elements meeting. (Hauser & Wirth)
Tip: feel free to discover the sculpture and notice the live jazz-music coming from a pianist inside the scultpure.
2. Robert Longo, Death Star 2018 (2018)
Through Death Star, Robert Longo takes aim at American gun violence.
Tip: try to get closer to the shimmery surface of the sculpture and you will recognise that its appealing topography is made out of polished copper shell casings.
3. Candice Breitz. TLDR (2017)
The video installation is a portrait of a community of sex workers who live and work in Cape Town. The work grew out of a series of interviews (these are included in the two-room installation) and an intensive workshop with the featured participants, extending an ongoing conversation between Breitz and SWEAT (Sex Workers Education & Advocacy Taskforce), the non-profit organisation with which the sex workers are affiliated. (Kow)
Tip: sit down, take a breath and put your mobile away.
4. Carlos Cruz-Diez Translucent Chromointerferent Environment, 1974 – 2009
In my works, color appears and disappears during the course of a dialogue with real space and time. What also emerges is the undeniable fact that the information we have acquired and the knowledge we have memorized throughout our lifetime are, probably, not true… at least to some extent. When we view color through an “elementary prism” that has been stripped of pre-existing meanings, it can awaken other sensory perception mechanisms that are more subtle and complex than those that have been ingrained in us by our cultural conditioning and the constant, ubiquitous barrage of information we face in our contemporary society. The Translucent Chromointerferent Environment is an evolving work; it is an aerial projection of moving lattices of light, in such a way that everything is transfigured, everything loses its materiality, and we become, simultaneously, authors and actors. It is a double dialogue of transfiguration where everything that was static turns to motion.’
– Carlos Cruz-Diez
Tip: move around the artwork. This “elementary prism” captures and hypnotises you.
5. Barbara Bloom – The Tip of the Iceberg (1991)
The Tip of the Iceberg by Barbara Bloom gives the impression of being underwater or in outer space. A circular table, lit from below and above, is stacked with porcelain tableware, all bearing the logo of the legendary RMS Titanic. Upon approaching the table, it is gradually revealed that the undersides of the dishes are printed with images from the Titanic wreck on the ocean floor. (Art Basel)
Tip: move further away and notice the rund ceiling with objects above the table.