Artscope Magazine Logo


Art Basel Art 2017

(Clockwise, from top left) Reza Aramesh, Site of the Fall: Study of the Renaissance Garden, 2016-17, marble, topiary, Leila Heller, New York City, at Parcours, ArtBasel ; Sue Williamson, Messages from the Atlantic Passage, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa; Phyllida Barlow, untitled: 100banners2015, 2015, Hauser & Worth, Zurich; Thomas Struth, Paradise 28, Rio Madre de Dios, Peru 2005, 2005, chromogenic print, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin/Paris; Peter Regli, Reality Hacking No. 313, 2014, Levy Gorvy, New York.

by Nancy Nesvet

TUESDAY, JUNE 13, 2017

Day two at Art Basel. In this wonderland of art, I am still totally at play, seeing the installations at Parcours, in the cathedral square and down by the Rhine River, but coming around to reality via some installations and sculpture at “Unlimited” in the city square called Messerplatz.

First confronted by Al Wei Wei’s “Iron Tree” (2016), which changes patina as it ages, it also brings nature and the manmade relationship with nature into perspective. That relationship seems a theme of Parcours, curator Samuel Leuenberger’s brilliant trek through the city through the following of artwork installations. Reza Aramsh recreates Michelangelo’s “Slave” in resin, but tiesits hands behind his back with a rope, making him captive and towering on a plinth over the river. Katinka Bock’s “Parasite Fountain” (2017) creates ametal fish that draws water from a neighboring fountain, thus the parasite description, and does not give it back. It uses the water for itself. Politics has come into the work now.

But we are rescued by Nathaniel Djurberg and Hans Berg’s darkly comical installation, “Who am I to Judge, or, it Must Be Something delicious” (2017). This combined video of Claymation figures and the figures themselves displayed in the center of the room, with inscribed messages that portend a darker world as we circle the room, use the cartoon genre to warn us and frankly, scare us, hopefully into action.

The giant keys scattered around the city, Amanda Ross-Ho’s “Untitled Findings (ACCESS),” 2017, a mixed media installation by a Chicago artist who now works in LA, uses the impetus to find the keys to have us (or at least me) discover the hidden beauty of Basel, both urban and rural spaces down by the river, as we search for the seven not very well hidden keys. I found seven today.​

Tomorrow, I will search for me. Keep reading, I’ll show you where they are.

For the third straight year, Artscope is an exhibitor in the Magazines Sector at Art Basel Switzerland. Publisher Kaveh Mojtabai and correspondent Nancy Nesvet will be filing reports from the fair, which is open to the public from June 15-18, throughout the week.