Curated by Giovanni Carmine, the Director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, this year’s edition of Art Basel’s Unlimited has topped all expectations and presented itself in the best light possible. Definitely a must-watch during your Art Basel trip this week – with many wow-works, monumental projects and interesting lager than life installations to discover.
Here are my highlights:
Since the 1990s the Florida born, New York based artist Leonardo Drew has been making assemblage based installations and sculptures in his distinctive abstract language that speaks to the cyclical nature of life. With his profound knowledge of materials, Drew weathers wood through process that make it appear to have been found in a state of natural decomposition – inspired by structures and architecture. Number 341 continues that development by extending the wall installation onto the floor plane, amplifying the dynamic composition and structure.
Formed form sheet alimunum and punctuated by two spherical objects painted in bright yellow car paint, the work combines undulating interlooking elements in a configuration that recalls the Baroque style. As part of the ongoing “Microworld” series, with these sculptures the Beijing born and based artist Liu Wei represents matter that is usually invisible to the naked eye in monumental scale. The building blocks for a new world are rendered ambiguously, highlighting the increasingly manipulated relationship between humans and nature in the constant quest for technological advancement.
Dutch Jan Dibbets’ R R Variations is a tribute to his friend and fellow artist Robert Ryman. Consisting of 40 digital colorful prints, the series is based on Ryman’s paintings found in Dibbets’ own collection.
Over the course of 12 canvas panels that make up “Weisses Bild” each large enough to be a stand alone painting, Luxembourg born artist Majerus appropriates segments of his own 1993 painting “Katze”- another work from his oeuvre depicting a whimsical interior sene that draws upon German comic culture. He also integrated motifs found in the world of Frank Stella and methodologies stemming from Robert Roman.
American artist Jim Shaw’s installation compromises eight sections of a theatrical backdrop of a foggy park onto which Superman is depicted in moments of distress. While the superhero in peril is a well-known motif, Shaw never shows the heroic escape: here Superman is a mere mortal.
His invulnerability and boundless powers numb him, such that he needs pain and death to feel anything. All of the poses include classical and pop cultural references.