#ArtBasel 2015: it’s here!

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Behind the scenes at Art Basel: Hall 1

The month of June in the Art-world only means one thing: Art Basel. An event that is now legend and that has seen its popularity constantly increasing in a way that now also Art Basel Miami and Art Basel Hong Kong are part of the picture.

So dear Art-lovers, this is also that time of the year in which I live only for that one thing: Art Basel and its happenings! No matter if Florence (+The Machine) is playing at Southside Festival in nearby Germany and your friends have a ticket and a place in a camping tent ready for you … Art Basel 2015 is here and nothing else matters!

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Art Basel: entrance to the “Unlimited” section

As an Art-blogger I still have kilometres to write and tons of hands to shake, but here I am… at the opening of Art Basel “Unlimited” on a Monday afternoon. As you are already (and correctly!) speculating, beautiful and eccentric people are all over the place… there is no average age at the “Messe”, only a fascinating weird mix of humanity. Serious and conservative buyers, eccentrically dressed-up couples, VIPs, important curators and art historians and VNP… Very Normal People! But hey… sometimes it is very hard to distinguish one from the other (unless you bump into Jerry Saltz… which unfortunately I didn’t!), so you can just play the game in your head of “Who’s Who” and soldier on, as art fairs are a taxing affair!

As I enter the “Unlimited” space, I am “greeted” by a mobile work of art… a spinning plate of some sort. But my attention is immediately caught by an installation on the left…

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Bathed in bicycles… “Stacked” (2012) by Ai Weiwei (Galleria Continua, San Gimignano)

A remarkable piece from Ai Weiwei from 2012.

As I take a stroll through the pavilion, I cannot help but feel like Alice in (Art)Wonderland…

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Héctor Zemora, “OG-107 Scenery”, 2012
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Close-up of “Food for Thought ‘Almuallaquat’ “, 2014, by Saudi female Maha Malluh
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Pascale Marthine Tayou, “Plastic Tree”, 2014 (Galleria Continua, San Gimignano)
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The artist Pascale Marthine Tayou in front of his work, enjoying the attention of his fans…

Some pieces are definitely more socially engaged than others, and many artists – like Pascale Marthine Tayou – are around and being busy with picture-hungy crowds of people posting everything in real-time on all the myriads of social networks. Above all, I believe Instagram, at the moment, gives the best overall picture of the event. For people like me, who have their feed populated by art magazines, art galleries and artsy personas, there is no better way to enjoy all that is going on in Basel these days.

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OPAVIVARA’!, “Formosa Decelerator”, 2014, (Gallery A Gentil Carioca, Rio de Janeiro)
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View from the outside… Jakub Julian Ziolkowski, “Imagorea”, 2014, (Foksal, Warsow; Hauser&Wirth, Zurich)
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Some details from Jakub Julian Ziolkowski’s “Imagorea”, 2014

And I know I am biased when I say this, but Ziolkowski’s work was absolutely outstanding… one box containing the result of one whole year of work. Absolutely mesmerising!

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Pedro Reyes, “Disarm (Mechanized) II”, 2014 (Lisson Gallery, London in collaboration with LABOR, Mexico City)
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Ed Atkins, “Happy Birthday!!!”, 2015, (Cabinet, London)
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Jesus Rafel Soto, “Sphère Lutétia”, 1996, (Gallery Perrotin, Paris)
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Kader Attia, “Arab Spring”, 2014, (Galleria Continua, San Gimignano)
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Interactive session around “Life Model”, 2012, by David Shringley … I especially love the kid’s portrait on the right 🙂

This kid at Shringley’s booth did a remarkable job. Is it contemporary art? 🙂

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Peekaboo!! Reflecting on Jeppe Hein’s “360° Illusion III”, 2007, (303 Gallery, New York; König, Berlin; Nikolai Wallner, Kobenhavn)
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Sparkling happiness from the Hiltl Restaurant – cause I deserved it!

And after hours of wandering, talking to volunteers and art historians, a glass of sparkles is just what I deserved…!

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…And off to Zurich! Amazing show, dreadful weather! (But goes well with the architecture of the Messe)

The train from Basel to Zurich only takes one hour and still it has been a very long day. If you have the chance, get a room in Basel, as many many cool after-fair-opening-hours events are taking place all around the pretty city. One above all… the Roth Bar! In the lobby of Basel’s grand hotel les trois rois,  presented by hauser & wirth – a fully-functional, specially crafted bar and will remain open for the duration of the fair.

So enjoy this blessed week of Art-pilgrimage… I will follow up soon with more updates about Wednesday’s events, which I will be attending!

Carmela Tfr

All pics taken by *artemporary

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