After two days of VIP preview, Art Basel, the most important of all contemporary art fairs on this planet, opened its door to the public. Then, the most exciting works had been sold allready. This the elitarian way the contemporary art market works today.
Hardly ever since I attend Art Basel, I realized this year that the art featured by galleries in the 1st floor is that different to those in the 2nd foor: Usually, on the 1st floor there were the modern art dealers and the big players of contemporary, like Gagosian, Lisson, Ropac and so on. On the 2nd floor there were also the younger galleries, with younger artists.
In recent years, painters have a difficult time - as paintings are not very appreciated by the curators of Biennials or Documentas. However, there is still a large number of art collectors who, mainly want to buy paintings. For some of them, a painting is not only easy to handle and to conserve - it is still the general idea of a work of visual art. I certainly don't want to get into the old trap to say that painting is obsolete, but in recent Biennials I didn't see a lot of exciting paintings.
At Art Basel Untitled, as place devoted to large-scale works, you could find a number of video installations and some rather technical looking sculptures. Besides that, I really loved the meditational piece, called 'Plancha' of 2010 by Teresa Margolles: There were hot iron tiles in a row on the floor of a dark room. From the ceiling dripped slowly water drops, which evaporated immediately with a hiss after hitting at the iron tiles. The text added another perspective: It said the water dripping from the ceiling was taken from water that was originally used to wash dead bodies...
The American artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins features her strange sculptures made of found images, pottery and old furniture at Laurel Gitlen Gallery, New York. We spotted her allready the the Whitney Biennial, a few years ago. Her sculptures look somewhat strange, but they certainly are a new way of creating sculptures.
Pierre Huyghe featured a video called 'A Way in Untitled' about his great 2012 Documenta installation at the Karlsaue Park.
Documenta artist Macuga Goshka did a spectacular installation at the booth of Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle.There were two live actors in painted spandex suits lingering around on the painting depicting Karl Marx and his claim ;workers unite'.
At White Cube Gallery, there was a stunning computer plotter print by Venice Biennale artist Wade Guyton.
The ongoing trend of performance was even at Art Unlimited visible. I liked the piece by Amalia Pica: There were two actors holding the work 'Strangers'.
Jeppe Hein told us the real truth in his neon work 'Happiness does not come from accumulating things'. Very true, but living with art makes life a lot more exciting!
by Chris Neuschler