Artists, collectors, galleries and art lovers outside Art Basel in Basel. Image courtesy of Art Basel
BASEL- After so much expectations, Art Basel, the highly anticipated art fair for works by emerging and established artists opened today in Basel. Like other years, many galleries and artists from across the globe are showcasing their best works at this art event that has become an annual ritual for art professionals and all those in the art field. Considered the premier international art show of its kind for Modern and contemporary works, there is so much to experience at Art Basel 2015. From paintings to sculpture, installations, videos, multiples, prints, photography, and performance, every artistic medium is represented at this year’s event.
Taking place at Basel situated at the border between Switzerland, France, and Germany, Art Basel continues to be one of the most celebrated art fairs in the world. During the preview of the fair Tuesday, thousands of collectors from across the world throng the Art Basel venue in search of great works to buy. With the increase in the number of collectors, it is expected that established and emerging artists will benefit from new money pouring into the contemporary art market.
As with other years, this year’s Art Basel includes single artist projects and dynamic configuration of two or three artists in dialogue. Art Basel 2015 features 23 site specific artworks, the largest in the art fair’s history. Located in the Parcours Sector, the works bring a fresh perspective to art trends across the globe as well as major sources of influence for artists in 21st-century art. This sector features site-specific sculptures, interventions, and performances by renowned international artists and emerging talents who use their works to engages the city’s historical quarters.
Curated by Florence Derieux, Parcours, which is taking place in the Münsterplatz area near Basel Cathedral this year has many interesting artworks on display. One of the works attracting a lot of attention is by the conceptual artist Piero Golia. Titled Untitled (Evil exists where good men do nothing) 2005. Made up of a life-size guillotine built from wood, rope, stainless steel, and brass, the sculpture recalls the cruelly public nature of executions throughout the world during centuries past. The work which title invokes a well-known proclamation of eighteenth-century Irish statesman Edmund Burke. while its calls on all good people across the globe to rise up against injustice and capital punishment.
One of the projects at this year’s Art Basel generating so much discussion is Do We Dream Under The Same Sky by Rirkrit Tiravanija, Nikolaus Hirsch, Michel Müller and Antto Melasniemi. Installed at Messeplatz, the large scale, interactive installation was commissioned by Art Basel.
Do We Dream Under The Same Sky is an insightful installation that carefully blends with the festive environment of this year’s Art Basel. The installation which looks like an open space where guests to the annual art event can rest their legs or get something to eat serves a venue for communal dining and communication. The space expands the notion of hospitality where people from across the globe can converge. There is also a green aspect to this installation which appears to address the issue of global warming. Installed along with the project are various alternative energy models, including a solar kitchen where tea and food grown on site are prepared.
Guests at this year’s event have the opportunity to experience the many dimensions of Modern and contemporary art in the best ways possible ways. The show sector curated by established curators include museum-caliber paintings, sculptures and classical photography. The gallery sector made up of more than 200 of the world’s leading galleries of Modern and contemporary art have on display art show featuring works by more than 4,000 artists, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, prints, photography, video and digital art.
In Hall 2, Bruce Silverstein Gallery is presenting an amazing selection of masterworks by André Kertész, a major figure in the fine art photography world. The exhibition which serves as a retrospective of the artist’s career, highlight the primary facets and developments of his practice. The show begins with Kertész’s early photographs in Hungary spreading through his final years as a celebrated photographer. Included in shows are prints of Kertész’s most historically significant works including: Chez Mondrian, 1926; Stairs of Montmartre, 1925; Leger’s Studio, 1926; Fork, 1928; a suite of images from his Distortions series, 1933; and a rare vintage example of his most iconic New York image, Washington Square Day, 1954.
The Film sector is one of the major areas of interest at this year’s Art Basel. It features a premier program of film and video works selected for the first time by Cairo-based film curator and lecturer Maxa Zoller. Included in the list of films are the long-awaited European premiere of Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict, Takashi Murakami’s first feature film Jellyfish Eyes and Hassan Hajjaj’s new film Karima: A Day in the Life of a Henna Girl. The screenings will also include works by Julieta Aranda, Katie Armstrong, Will Benedict & David Leonard, Pauline Boudry & Renate Lorenz, Kimsooja, Oliver Laric, Karolin Meunier, Laure Provost, Michael Snow, Mounira Al Solh, Agnès Varda and Kan Xuan.
Of all the films and video announced for the Film sector, Takashi Murakami’s debuts feature film Jellyfish Eyes (2013), which opened this section of the event is the one generating a lot of attention. In addition to the film is Murakami’s fantastical creatures set presented as an art form at the art fair. As expected, the screening of the film Tuesday attracted a lot of artists, collectors, collectors and art enthusiasts. Two screenings were held to accommodate the crowd and due to popular demand. The film show was followed by a question and answer session with the artist.
Contemporary Africa art and African artists are at center stage of this year’s Art Basel. Several African artists are showing their works to the collectors and global art audience in several exhibitions. Georges Adéagbo is one the artists representing Africa at this year’s Art Basel. His site-specific installation is at Galerie Wien Lukatsch at Art Basel. Titled Les artistes et l’écriture (2014), the installation consists of tribal sculptures, handwritten texts, books and newspaper clippings sourced in Germany and Benin. A section of the installation has already been sold to a private collector.
During Conversations and salon programs, there will be renewed focus on modern and contemporary African art. This follows on the track of recent development in the global art scene where African artists have continued to take their place at the dinner table. From Venice biennial to Dak’Art Biennale, African artists have continued to forcefully insert themselves into a global discourse.
Since inception in 2005, Art Basel has maintained a stand as the premier art shows for modern and contemporary art in the world. This year, 284 leading galleries from across the world are at the heart of Europe showcasing their best works in some of the intuitively curated shows and exhibitions. The exhibition includes the highest-quality paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, video and editioned works.
Founded by gallerists in 1970, Art Basel has grown to become not just the major hub for artists and galleries but also art collectors who take their cue on art trends from works on display at the show. It is not surprising that the focus of the organizers of Art Basel has been to act as the driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in the nurturing of artists, and the development and promotion of visual arts. 45 years after the first initiative was put in place by galleries, Art Basel continues to foster the dynamic relationships between art galleries, artists, private collectors and public institutions with an understanding of their essential role in today’s art world.
The role of Art Basel as a link between galleries and collectors is evident in the effort of ensuring that more wealthy collectors have greater access to galleries and artists at the art fair. Since 2008, Art Basel has been working extensively to cultivate wealthy collectors. Besides increasing its VIP relations team from 9 to 26, Art Basel has also done a lot to create a conducive atmosphere for collectors at the fair.
Galleries are particularly conversant of not just the increase in the number of wealthy collectors at this year’s Art Basel, they also know that they must put the best artworks in front of the rich collectors. Walking through the show sector, it is clear that galleries are doing their best to attract art lovers as well as entice collectors. Beyond the exceptional artworks, galleries have on display, they are also reaching to collectors.