Exploring Art Basel with La Prairie. Many surprises at this year’s Art Basel in Basel 2019: Unlimited & Gallery sector highlights and an exciting insight into La Prairie’s artistic collaboration with three young Swiss female photographers.
Is Art Unlimited? Art after the Olive Tree
The day started with a wonderful surprise in the entrance to the Unlimited section of Art Basel: giant olive trees were wonderfully placed in the lobby, while you passed by them to access Unlimited.
Curated by Gianni Jetzer, the Unlimited part of the fair was launched in 2000 and showcases massive sculpture and paintings, video projections as well as large-scale installations. This was the last and final year, Gianni Jetzer curated the show, as his making way for a new curator after 8 years of holding this role.
Many of the artworks exhibited at Unlimited were for sale. This year 75 artworks, including a high number of video installations were featured. Here are some of my personal highlights from Unlimited’s 2019 programme.
4 Unlimited Highlights
1. Larry Bell – Hydrolux, 1986
Bell’s Hydrolux is a multi-media installation embodied via closed circuit cameras, projectors, strobe lights, and water. As a spectator entering the room, I instantly felt mesmerised and hypnotised by this work: certainly the combination of reflection, light, water, sound and video is capturing. This work was recently on view at ICA Miami, as part of the artist’s comprehensive survey.
2. Joan Semmel – Skin in the Game, 2019
Skin in the Game (2019) is Semmel’s largest painting to date. The artist uses expressive brushwork and brilliant color to explore nude self-portraiture and touch on subjects such as identity, ageing, desire and sexuality.
3. Monica Bonvicini: «Breathing», Installation, 2017
Breathing is the title of this performative sculpture. The moving object made out of leather belts is frightening and meditative at once, and instantly captures your attention. Its shape is similar to a witch’s broom or an oversized whip and refers to contemporary feminist politics and the presence of powerful female figures.
4. Jannis Kounellis Untitled, 2000
13 military hospital beds are part of this powerful installation. While you walk past these hospital beds, carefully placed next to each other, you feel like entering a movie scene. The material blankets, combined with the steel and iron used to simulate the “patients”, form a complex and contrasting relationship: warmth, softness, a feeling of care vs. coldness, harshness and hostility.
Eyes in Focus: A Stop for Beauty
After Unlimited, the art journey led to an enjoyable break to recharge and relax at the beautifully designed La Prairie pavilion in the Collectors Lounge of Art Basel.
Since 2017, Swiss luxury skincare brand La Prairie, supporter of arts and culture, has been partner of Art Basel, the world’s leading art platform. More than any other beauty brand, the leader in luxury skincare places importance in supporting and encouraging artistic talent including artists such as Julian Charrière, Manon Wertenbroek and Mario Botta.
On the occasion of this year’s edition of Art Basel in Basel, the brand introduced Skin Caviar Eye Lift, its newest product innovation. This launch was reflected in an art exhibition displayed during the fair exploring the beauty, the mystery and the enduring timelessness of the gaze and its ability to revive, raise and redefine – for a gaze reawakened.
For its unique exhibition entitled “Eyes in Focus”, La Prairie selected three up-and-coming Swiss female photographers Daniela Droz, Namsa Leuba and Senta Simond, all graduates of the esteemed Lausanne University of Art and Design (ECAL), to celebrate the female gaze through the prism of the female photographer’s eye.
A Skincare Ceremony for the Eyes?
Discovering new art pieces all day can be tiring, leaving the complexion to appear dull. This year, art-lovers in the Collectors lounge had the opportunity to experience the La Prairie universe and enjoy customised La Prairie treatments for the tired eye area.
Impressed by the authentic, sophisticated elegance of La Prairie’s store design and surrounded by the exhibition “Eyes in Focus” and the distinctive refreshing scent of La Prairie’s Cellular Energising Mist, I was eager to try the new Skin Caviar Eye Lift during an “Art of Perfection” Eye Treatment.
The eye-opening serum for the whole eye area really holds what it promises; you feel an immediate tensing sensation around the eyes and that they are “opened” while the eye contours are lifted. I cannot wait to test it further, but I certainly liked the light texture and pleasant, not overbearing scent; great for both men and women, who want the area around their eyes to look more youthful, refreshed and rested.
Three female artists
Considerable is the selection of the three female photographers: all very unique in their work and how they implemented their own artistic approach around the theme of Eyes in Focus.
La Prairie offered us the opportunity to meet the three Swiss female photographers. Some interesting points from my discussion with the artists include:
· Namsa Leuba’s residence in Tahiti, her multicultural upbringing and how she wanted to illustrate the nature of emotions hidden in us and that attempt to come through the veil that covers them.
· Senta Simond played with the gaze of her subjects (not professional models but women from her surroundings) by photographing them in different emotional states, reflecting different postures and attitudes usually linked with introspection.
· Daniela Droz’s decision to try to interrogate the viewer’s gaze and turn it back on her. She sought to accentuate the idea of a new approach to photography which follows the principles of Constructivism or Bauhaus: with a new point of view, outside the generally accepted rules of perspective.
A further highlight: a quote by Marcel Proust on the pavilion wall.
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
Noodle Soups, Stars & Dreams? 10 Works from the Gallery Sector
The following works captured my attention during the my art marathon through the Gallery sector of Art Basel in Basel 2019. Scroll through the post, to see all 10.
In addition to the 10 works presented, Bethan Huw’s Reason (or Winter), 2018 from Zuoz based Galerie Tschudi, Robert Indiana’s Rum Run at Galerie Gmurzynska (1975/2005) and Roni Horn’s This is Me, This is You, 2000 at Galerie Hauser & Wirth attracted my interest.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for more Art meets Beauty with La Prairie. Also, feel free to follow AndyMeetsWarhol on Instagram here.