WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ART BASEL 2017
This year intended to sell pieces of art representatives of 291 galleries arrived from all over the world. Among them there are such famous galleries as Gagosian (New York), Marlborough Gallery (New York), Hauser & Wirth (Munich), Gallerie 1900-2000 (Paris), Helly Nahmad (New York) and Galerie Thomas (Munich) as well as quite young ones like Gypsum Gallery from Cairo, Hopkinson Mossman from Oakland, New Zealand and Antenna Space from Shanghai
What you should know about Art Basel 2017
Art Basel (Hall 2, Messe Basel) 13 - 18 of June
Unlimited (Hall 1, Messe Basel) 12 - 18 of June
This year intended to sell pieces of art representatives of 291 galleries arrived from all over the world. Among them there are such famous galleries as Gagosian (New York), Marlborough Gallery (New York), Hauser & Wirth (Munich), Gallerie 1900-2000 (Paris), Helly Nahmad (New York) and Galerie Thomas (Munich) as well as quite young ones like Gypsum Gallery from Cairo, Hopkinson Mossman from Oakland, New Zealand and Antenna Space from Shanghai.
The program for galleries, of course, wasn’t limited to the halls provided for exposition during the work of fair there were opened the publications section devoted to the contemporary art and also, as a part of Parcours program, designers and urbanists interacted with city environment, at the conference halls were held discussions with participating artists, curators and art critics.
The ones who have been observing the success and travels of Voloshyn Gallery must have noticed that within few years our team attends annual Art Week in the Swiss city, Basel and shares the impressions with our followers. And for those ones, who have just joined us, we’ll tell in short history of the event.
The first time when Art Basel fair took place in Basel in 1970 thanks to activity of the famous art dealers Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt. Being on the border between Switzerland, France and Germany, Basel became the perfect art trade place. From the very beginning the event looked impressive: at the first exhibition 90 galleries from 10 countries were presented and the fair itself was visited by about 16 thousand people.
Nowadays, Art Basel on Rhine is 27 500 square meters of exhibition space (apart from the art show of parallel program, which we’ll discuss later) and 4 thousand artists, presented by 291 galleries from America, Europe, Asia, Africa (the number of the galleries-participants reached almost 300 in 1975, since then the amount of the participants doesn’t increase dramatically).
First few days the main exposition of Art Basel is available for the private view that only supposes professionals of the Art Market, collectors and press, but by weekends it’s open for the general public. To see everything, even if you are determined to stay here form the first till the last day, is definitely impossible. But we tried!
The most powerful fair of contemporary art covers two main halls of the complex Messe Basel: the first and the second one. At the second hall, built in 1950s by Hans Hoffman, can be found numerous galleries including works dated between 1900s and modern times. The gallery offers super stars of the art stage of 20th and 21st century (as part of the Features sector and of the earlier period) as well as up-and-coming stars of the art world. The intention to discover the new names and to make way for the young ones appeared from the very moment of the foundation – in 1974 the new names were highlighted in the thematic area Neue Tendenzen, which keeping the main idea went through the numerous transformations concerining the ways of work presentation, and the name: first is was renamed as Perspective, next it was Young Galleries (emphasizing on the galleries which represent the young ones), after that the name turned into Statements (mono projects of the young artists).
The highest degree of interest was awoken by the space Unlimited. It’s usually located at the first hall, built in 1999 by Theo Hotz and a few years ago it was restored by well-known architecture partnership Herzog & de Meuron. The space exists as part of Art Basel since 2000 and planned for large works that belong to commercial art, - paintings, video-art, installations, monumental sculptures, performances, photography and other pieces of art made by modern representatives of different artistic generations.
What makes Unlimited different from the most art fairs is the manner of exposing that supposes large open space where one work is separated from another just partially instead of the space filled with stands and divided by walls and partitions. The works which are supplied by galleries (formally they are available for sale) for exposing are selected by the curator from The Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, famous for his independent projects, Gianni Jetzer (by 2012 Simon Lamunière has been the permanent/constant curator of Unlimited) and the selection committee, that makes general decision about each participant of the exhibition. They should meet definite requirements and traditionally have some common cross-cutting theme. This year the obvious theme is a human in modern world, theme of borders and globalization. At Art Basel 2017 we have seen (and it was expected) a lot of works about politics, refugees and special attention was devoted to the theme of borders. Along with this it is about the borders and the walls in the broadest sense. For example, it’s installation of the star of the Chinese art stage, "Through the Wall" (2016) by Song Dong, that’s made of colorful mirrors installed into window frames and door assemblies. The very doors and window frames Dong took from the old “hutong” houses in the centre of Beijing which were being destroyed in favor of construction of new skyscrapers. The installation is dedicated to cultural, social, political walls and borders.
Claustrophobic entrance into “the cave” should remind the spectator how uneasy it really is to move along social paths of society in modern information-transparent world. The installation was presented by New York Gallery Pace.
Other borders between the known and the hidden found its realization in kinetic sculpture “Statement” (2015) by Jenny Holzer. It looks like a gigantic (about 2,5 meters long) telescopic robotic arm, that moves in the air whereas from four walls you can see a travelling line with the words “beaten”, “like”, “world”. Reading them you understand - there is no sense connection, but all of the words are taken from the declassified by the government of the USE military service records concerning military operations carried out in Afghanistan and Iraq. However, some part of the files was tainted so the document put into the public domain lost its considerable amount of content and sense.
Own borders which a person sets in space is one of the themes of performance “Bliss (Reality Check)” (2017) by Donna Huanca. Two female performers move around inside the space with a glass wall in front of the spectators. It’s possible to go around the wall and stand at the side of the podium and notice some invisible from the other line of sight details, but most of spectators prefer to remain behind the wall.
The tremendous installation “Cooking the World” created by Indian Subodh Gupta was no less interesting. It is 20-meter high construction made of casseroles, frying pans and other utensils (at the same spot cooking workshops are held).
A lot of visitors of Unlimited, frankly speaking, froze watching the work of John Baldessari “Ear Sofa; Nose Sconces with Flowers (in StageSetting)”. This installation presents a blond model sitting with a snow white dog in surrealistic interior: a colossal-ear-shaped sofa and plafonds with flowers in the form of upturned noses on the walls.
The atmosphere of work echoes with the art of Salvador Dali, whereas the theatricality and measure of objects remind the art deco style and is dedicated to the modern, plastic world saturated with marketing. John Baldessari has always been interested in characters and parts of anatomy in extravagant contexts. For good reason “Ear Sofa…” first was made in 2009, now the artist altered it. But a mystic as it did before attracts the spectators and serves as the perfect setting for a selfie. The work was presented by Sprüth Magers Gallery.
The work of the French artist Philippe Parreno "Fraught Times: For Eleven Mоnths of The Year it's an Artwork and in December it's Christmas (July)" we found quite ironic. The whole salt of it is hidden in the very name, the object itself is a decorated Christmas tree. As the author said: “It (Christmas tree) was made of stainless steel. It’s all painted. It’s the Christmas tree which will never disappear, because it’s not the real tree, which was sawed, it has everlasting life. Every December the installation turns into the real Christmas tree, whereas during rest of the months it’s a piece of art”. At all Parreno made 11 models, one for each month but December. This one is July version.
In general at Unlimited there were 76 projects. A separate exposition was devoted to the works of the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans as a part of the Art Week of Art Basel 2017, where you could see more than 180 works made by him during the period between 1989 and 2017 at Foundation Beyeler.
Among the most expensive works, which are being sold this year in Basel, there are a lot ones created in 80s. It seems that 80s are getting new 60s at the modern Art Market.
Jean-Michel Basquiat again belongs to the most expensive artists and for his “Baby Boom” (1982) Lévy Gorvy Gallery set the price of $ 35 mil.
The work of Francis Bacon Study From the Human Body – Figure in Movement" (1982) was estimated at $25 mil by Marlborough Gallery. “Gun” (1989) by Andy Warhol at Mnuchin Gallery was on sale for $12 mil and the work of Sigmar Polke (1989) at David Zwirner Gallery cost $9 mil and was sold at once at the day of VIP preview. The leading art dealers keep their best lots for art fairs whereas demand for high-class art is so high that potential buyers during the preview are given just 10-15 minutes to decide if they buy the exhibit or not. Successful galleries sometimes manage to refresh their stands completely having sold all the works during the first days of VIP preview.
Traditional and popular with guests program Parcours included sculptures and installations, specially made for streets, squares, temples and other interesting addresses of Basel. Among 22 participants of Parcours are Ai Weiwei, Katinka Bock, Natali Djurberg.
The Film is sector separate part of Art Basel program. It was opened by work of the French, Erik Baudelaire “Also Known As Jihadi”. This documentary is about a young boy with the name Abdel Aziz, who leaves his home town Val-de-Marne in France and gets to Syria, where he joins Islamic State.
Behind the scenes, not available to an average spectator, there is an intriguing part of Art Basel – Collectors’ Lounge, where collectors or other friends of the partner-companies of the exhibition can get by a special VIP Pass. Each company has personal lounge with champagne, snacks (by the way, here you can find buffets and bars where the leading stars and dealers of the modern art world can be caught eating salads) and, necessarily, as the matter of good manners, the work of the supported artist, often created specially for the personal art initiative of the brand. For the last years it attracts even more interest, works are getting more powerful and the art initiatives impress with concepts, extent and intensity.
Design Miami/Basel 2017 (Hall 1 South, Messe Basel) 12 -18 of June
Design Miami/Basel the first time was held in 2006 by the then-director of the fair at Art Basel Sam Keller and the developer from Miami Craig Robins. Since that time the fair became the main European sale platform of modern collection design. However, among the galleries-participants there are lots of specialists of design icons of 20th century. The guests of Basel saw 47 galleries (6 of them participate the first time) with unique or design objects of small circulation from the Art Nouveau to the latest ones, which were delivered to the Basel art fair straight from the workshops.
Traditionally the exposition has few sectors: the main – Galleries, Design At Large which supposes large-sized objects, and thematic booths with curator concept solutions can be found in Curio. Some interesting expositions we saw were devoted to the artist or design bureau: Ettore Sottsass, André Sornay, Jean Royère, Chinese bureau MAD Architects and Swiss Christ & Gantenbein architects.
It was the first time at Design Miami Basel for the Monacan gallerist Robert Zehil (Robert Zehil Gallery), having strengthened the position of earlier styles – the art nouveau, the art deco. And international Heritage Gallery presented the samples of soviet design from the period between 1924 and 1958. Also, at the showcase were objects made by the masters de Stijl, post-war Italian, French and Scandinavian design, collection Italian glass, postmodernism of 80s and wonderful offer of the modern design adornments.
Swarovski presented three winners of the competition Designers of the Future Award. This year the Taiwanese Jimenez Lai, the Dutch Marjan van Aubel and the Japanese bureau Takt Project were considered to be the most progressive and promising.
The Austrian gallerist and journalist Oscar Humphries demonstrated the impressive installation and the film, devoted to the famous theater “Regio” in Turin, that was restored in 1967-1973 according to the project of the designer Carlo Mollino.
Apart from the sophisticated furniture, fittings and décor annual program of Design Miami/Basel includes the display of collection cars. This year the curator Kenny Schachter arranged this section with the name #manual including 13 models, among which experimental Z-cars of Zaha Hadid (2005-2008) looking impressive, and also Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint GTA (1965-1971).
SCOPE Basel (SCOPE | Haus, Webergasse, 34, Basel) 13 -18 of June
This year it was 11th SCOPE Basel, it is the art fair which presents international galleries and attracts connoisseurs of the contemporary art. Apart from the exhibition program visitors and participants can take part in special events that complete daily program of the art fair: discussions, performances, negotiations, experience exchange.
SCOPE Basel 2017 involved 79 galleries from 48 cities, among them galleries from Berlin, New York, London, Paris, Zurich, Geneva, Milan, Buenos Aires, Vienna, Oslo, Kyiv, Amsterdam, Barcelona — at all 27 participating countries. It was the second time when the art fair is held at the very convenient location — SCOPE | Haus, former Clarahuus, it’s just three blocks from Art Basel, few minutes walk towards the city centre.
Voloshyn Gallery, that made debut at SCOPE Art Show in Basel with solo exhibition of Mykhailo Deiak, and then took part in SCOPE Miami Beach and SCOPE New York this year presenting the projects of five artists. Three of them – Mykhailo Deiak, Anna Valiieva and Bogdan Tomashevskiy, live in Ukraine, Rudolf Burda is from Czech Republic and Maria Sulymenko, who, despite the fact that she comes from Ukraine, can be refered to German circle of artists. Maria has lived in Germany for more than 15 years.
Anna Valiieva was presented at SCOPE Art Show the third time with her works from series Memories of the future and the past, some of them have already been successfully demonstrated at SCOPE Miami Beach 2016, SCOPE New York 2017 and personal exhibition at Voloshyn Gallery in spring. She awoke considerable interest of public. Also, the artist received the invitation from the curators to take part in POSITIONS BERLIN Art Fair.
Mykhailo Deiak showed two objects from series Genesis and the minimalistic landscape on glass from the series Space.
Watercolor works of Mariia Sulymenko were presented at Scope Art Show the second time. Laconism, atmosphere of involuntariness and absurd that prevail in her works appeal being attractive and clear to European collectors.
Among the new authors presented by Voloshyn Gallery at Scope Art Show is Bogdan Tomashevskiy. Visitors could see his bas-reliefs created in quite complicated technique, that combines clay, ceramics, epoxy. The bas-relief of Tomashevskiy “1+1” about unicity of each person and humanity in general caught the interest of the many by the theme actuality and the originality of performance.
New name for our followers but not for the fair SCOPE: Rudolf Burda is the fifth author who was presented by our gallery this year. He is the Czech artist who got education in the USA and works with Bohemian glass, creating impressive installations themed with space and world structure.
As for the galleries which drew our attention here, they are: ARTHOBLER GALLERY, Zurich, with the works of the artist Rómulo Celdrán; BC Gallery, presenting the works of the artist Jan Kaláb, famous gallery Rademakers Gallery, which offered art photographers, the work of one of them, COPPEJANS, was at the poster of SCOPE Art Show.
LISTE (Burgweg 15, Basel) 13 -18 of June
Having been started in 1996 LISTE occupied the location near the Rhine, at former brewery, it’s a few bus stops from Messeplatz, where the main exposition areas can be found. So you can get to the art show by tram or just walk along the picturesque bank of the Rhine. At 22nd art fair there were 79 galleries from 34 countries. Among 15 new participating galleries here the most spectacular were Öktem & Aykut from Isanbul, and 34 personal expositions of artists as well. This year project "Rehearsing Intra-Activity" includes the work of the French “not dancing” choreographer Jérôme Bel, who famously persuaded 25 staff of New York Museum of Modern Art to dance for visitors in 2016.
And we remind that LISTE is aimed at revealing young and new artists.
VOLTA13 (Markthalle, Viaduktstrasse, Basel) 12 – 17 of June.
VOLTA was founded in 2005 and managed to gain the fame of the powerful launching ground where in the past many galleries were introduced and aftermath got famous, like Espaivisor (Valencia), A Gentil Carioca (Rio de Janeiro), STEVENSON (Capetown / Johannesburg), Taro Nasu (Tokio), One and J. Gallery (Seoul) and Bitforms gallery (New York). One of the typical features of this exhibition is that the participants of it often change, because the “finalists” of VOLTA after the successful presentations move to the more influential grand fairs such as Friez and та Art Basel. Due to this, the expositions of VOLTA are always interesting and diverse, because these galleries are constantly changing. This year VOLTA was held the 13th time under the common motto "Lucky 13". Usually VOLTA presents solo projects or two-three performers in dialogue and it serves as a foundation of its program. Such an approach draws attention of the art fair to its essential component: artists and their works.
This year the focus of attention is New York gallery Tyler Rollins Fine Art, that presented reliefs and sculptures made of bamboo grids from the Cambodian artist Sopheap Pich who was included to the main exhibition at Venice Biennale this year.
Photo Basel (Volkshaus, Rebgasse, Basel) 15-19 of June
The Volkshaus is the favorite exhibition Hall among the youngest mentioned here Art Basel satellites. This year Photo Basel celebrated the third year of its existence and was held the second time at this cosy location. The exposition of this photography fair consisted of 34 galleries from 16 countries. As innovation of Photo Basel was appearance of a section Tape/Basel with functions of moving-image. Among interesting works there was “Edge of Alchemy" (2017) by Stacey Steers at the stand Catharine Clark Gallery. It was inspired by gothic novel of Mary Shelly “Frankenstein”.
Rhy Art Fair (Rhypark, Mülhauserstrasse,17, Basel) 15 -18 of June
Rhy Art Fair is a fair located near St.Johanns Park where the works of 42 artists and collectives with solo presentations can be seen. Even though some authors are introduced by galleries (mostly found in Switzerland and Germany), but many of them introduce themselves in person.
Swiss Art Awards 2017 (Messe Basel, Hall 3, Basel) 13 -18 of June
Swiss Art Awards is the part of the oldest and the most famous in Switzerland art competition founded in 1899: Schweizer Kunstwettbewerb. Every year Swiss Art Awards are arranged by The Federal Office of Culture (FOC), this event gives general idea about modern world of Art and Architecture in Switzerland. As the prize for each category is CHF 25 000. The ceremony of award and exhibition of shortlisted participants and award winners is held at the simultaneously with Art Week of Art Basel.
So, having attended Art Basel this year we made sure that this is the meeting place of traditions and avant-garde. And the best galleries of the world are thoroughly preparing for this event. They select the most interesting works which have been created for the previous years: it can be photography, sculptures, painting, installations, prints, multimedia and performances. Also, here were exhibited the works of classics of the art trends created in 20th century such as Miró, Picasso, Koons, Klee, Kandinsky. Known artists and curators take part in public discussions: Norweign duet Elmgreen & Dragset, Dominique Gonzalez-Torres, Hans Ulrich Obrist. Art Week in Basel is time for new meetings with classics and discovery of the new names. We remind that Art Basel is one of the leading players at the market of contemporary art, that has captured not only the banks of the Rhine, but also the beaches of Miami and harbours of Hong Kong. Thus, the next gathering place is Miami in December!