The 2015 edition of Parcours, curated for the third consecutive year by Florence Derieux, Director of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, is sited in the historical center of Basel around the city’s iconic cathedral, infiltrating key locations such as the Museum of Culture, the Natural History Museum, the Town Hall and the Münsterplatz itself.
It features 23 site-specific artworks by internationally renowned as well as emerging artists, including works by Alexandra Bachzetsis, Davide Balula, Adriano Costa, Alicia Framis, Piero Golia, Tobias Kaspar, Alicja Kwade, Nate Lowman, Michaela Meise, Jonathan Monk, Vik Muniz, Ciprian Mureşan, Peter Regli, David Renggli, Ugo Rondinone, Yves Scherer, Lara Schnitger, Alyson Shotz, Daniel Silver, Philippe Thomas, Blair Thurman and Francisco Tropa.
The show is open to the public from today Wednesday June 17 to Sunday June 21, culminating in Parcours Night on Saturday June 20 – an evening of late night openings of all Parcours projects, a special intervention by Lara Schnitger and an evening program curated by Derieux with performances by Rosa Barba, Julien Bismuth and Erkka Nissinen as well as a DJ set by Haroon Mirza with London-based band Factory Floor.
As part of the evening, Art Basel with HeK (House of electronic Arts Basel) will present a new live performance by Edwin van der Heide. ‘LSP’ is a series in which the artist creates composed relationships between light and sound in space. In addition, the following museums and institutions in the Münsterplatz area will extend their opening times into the night: Naturhistorischesmuseum Basel, Museum der Kulturen Basel, Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, Historisches Museum Basel.
Follows a brief description of some of the artworks shown in Parcours:
On Münsterplatz, Gladstone Gallery (New York, Brussels) and Galerie Eva Presenhuber (Zurich) present ‘the gracious’ (2015), a new large-scale stone sculpture by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone. Close by, Massimo De Carlo (Milan, London) and Maccarone (New York, Los Angeles) show ‘Multicolored tow truck’ (2015) by American artist Nate Lowman, a series of sculptures created from rusted and painted tow trucks, traditionally used to transport other vehicles. Lowman transforms these mechanical objects into religious crosses displayed on Münsterplatz. Galerie Guido W. Baudach (Berlin) present a 3D-printed mermaid designed by Yves Scherer in Dreizackbrunnen, a fountain on Münsterberg. ‘Little Mermaid’ (2015) comprises a mermaid’s tail merged with the torso and head of actress Emma Watson.
Exhibited in the cloister of Basel’s gothic cathedral, Alicja Kwade’s ‘Der Tag ohne Gestern I – III’ (2014-2015), presented by 303 Gallery (New York), Galerie König, Berlin (Berlin) and kamel mennour (Paris), explores the fundamental questions of space and time. The work consists of three large corten-steel structures, the forms of which are inspired by pre-scientific attempts to illustrate the inherent structure of the universe. The viewer can walk through the space, peer down the barrels of the sculptures and find clocks staring back indicating the accurate time, demonstrating one of the most ostensibly inherent truths we use to place ourselves in the universe.
In the council hall of Basel’s cathedral, Galeria Juana de Aizpuru (Madrid) present ‘Habitación de libros prohibídos’/ ‘Room for forbidden books’ (2014) by Alicia Framis. The installation consists of a closed room containing over a hundred books that have been banned at certain times in particular countries. Framis will highlight the problematic nature of censoring by juxtaposing seemingly innocuous titles such as Beatrix Potter’s ‘The Tale of Peter the Rabbit’ with Karl Marx’s ‘The Communist Manifesto’. Visitors can read these ‘forbidden’ works in the quiet and private confines of the room.
The Natural History Museum houses three site-specific artworks. Presented by Meyer Riegger (Berlin, Karlsruhe) and kurimanzutto (Mexico City), Alexandra Bachzetsis’ performance ‘Gold’ (2004) plays with the ambiguous vernacular behind hip hop and R&B culture. Focused on the eroticized and strong female figure, Bachzetsis’ piece offers a powerful and fully embodied reflection on dance culture, visual pleasure and the commodification of fantasy. Galerie frank elbaz (Paris) will present ‘Painting the roof of your mouth (Ice Cream)’ (2015), a fully functioning ice cream parlour by Davide Balula. Based on his previous paintings series, ‘River, Buried and Burnt Paintings’ (2012-2014), the artist will serve unusual ice cream flavours including burnt wood, graphite, linen and smoke, creating a ‘sensorial’ work. The flavours, developed in collaboration with Michelin Star-awarded chef Daniel Burns, can be sampled either at the main parlour or from ice cream trolleys placed in different parts of the city. The third project on display in the museum, presented by Gagosian Gallery (New York, Beverly Hills, London, Geneva, Hong Kong, Le Bourget, Paris, Rome, Athens) and galerie frank elbaz (Paris) is ‘Widows’ Walk (A Coat of Arms and/or Tails for a Whale)’ (2015) by Blair Thurman, a new large-scale neon installation, based on ‘Merry Widow’, one of Thurman’s signature works.
In the Museum of Culture, Mendes Wood DM (São Paulo) and Sadie Coles HQ (London) present two works by Adriano Costa, both relating to Costa’s own life as a Latin American artist working in Europe. ‘International Division of Labour – 2’ (2014) is an installation of counterfeit handbags placed on a platform, dislocating them from their original purpose. The second work, ‘How to be Invisible in High Heels’ (2014), is a sequence of monochromatic steles whose different heights refer to those of Brazilian transsexuals in high-heeled shoes Costa met in Milan.
At the city hall, Gagosian Gallery and Bortolami (New York) will present ‘Untitled (Evil exists where good men do nothing)’ (2005), a life-size guillotine by Piero Golia.
In the courtyard of Basel’s state archives, Galerie Peter Kilchmann (Zurich) show ‘Reclining Nude’ (2014) by David Renggli, a sculpture consisting of powder-coated aluminum. Placed on a pedestal, Renggli’s sculpture takes cues from ancient Greece, where only partial fragments of the figure remain, creating a sculpture reminiscent of a fragmented body. In the Gymnasium am Münsterplatz nearby, Michaela Meise’s ‘Im Kreis, am Kreis (Chelsea Kramer and Portraits)’ (2013), presented by Galerie König, Berlin (Berlin) and Standard Oslo (Oslo), consists of a table bench where people can sit, eat or work together. It was created with Berlin locksmith Bernd Euler and takes its form from the 1928 design of Ferdinand Krammer for a kindergarten in Frankfurt, pointing out the political and pedagogical strategy of the time of pulling the community together. A selection of ceramic portraits is hung inside the school, depicting random people the artist met during her life.
The Puppet Theater is home to a live performance of puppetry by Ciprian Mureşan, presented by David Nolan Gallery (New York). Having re-staged classical texts and worked with contemporary Romanian playwrights such as Gianina Cărbunariu and Saviana Stănescu, Mureşan’s theater may initially seem classical in format, but beyond its traditional appearance, a focus on technical apparatus along with the use of improvisation and spontaneity will shift the viewer’s perspective.
At the corner of Rittergasse and St. Alban-Graben, Lisson Gallery (London, Milan, New York, Singapore) present Jonathan Monk’s ‘Covered Motorbike’ (2013), the largest bronze sculpture the artist has created to date. Monk plays, mocks, questions, deflates and multiplies by breaking up images and ideas, before putting them back to create new ones, often recalling the approach of 1960s Conceptualism.
‘Observatoire d’insectes’ (1996) by Francisco Tropa is presented by Galerie Jocelyn Wolff (Paris) at the old university. First show in 1996, the work comprises two trestles holding a plate which is colored with safran yellow and painted with honey. The viewer will witness the work transform into an observatory as both the color and the honey attract insects to the work.
Presented on stone walls throughout the Parcours area there is Alyson Shotz’s ‘Imaginary Sculptures’ (2014 – 2015), presented by Carolina Nitsch (New York). As six panels of text on enamel, these signs are initially experienced as ordinary street signs. However, each panel contains a short text describing an imagined sculpture, using language to conjure forms in the mind of the viewer, demonstrating the notion that every work of art exists in the imagination, first in the mind of the artist and later in the memory of the viewer.
Jan Mot (Bruxelles, Mexico City) present ‘Chiat/Day/Mojo – readymades belong to everyone ®’ (1990) by Philippe Thomas. The artist founded a communication and events agency in reference to Marcel Duchamp, and the advertising work on show, first exhibited in ‘Art & Publicité’ at the Center Pompidou in Paris in 1990, is displayed in Basel on a billboard pillar in the city’s marketplace.
On display at the Antikenmuseum Basel und Sammlung Ludwig, Daniel Silver’s Rock Formations’, (2014-2015) is composed of a series of semi-figurative sculptural works that embody the artist’s ongoing obsession with the ancient world. Presented by Frith Street Gallery (London), the works which make up the installation are composed of couplings or collages of stone and bronze heads placed directly on a piece of Carrara marble.
Presented by Galerie Peter Kilchmann (Zurich), Tobias Kaspar ‘THE STREET (NYC 1995)’ (2015) transforms the entrance of Scala Basel into 1995 New York City. With props, a backdrop, music and three teenage characters in 1990s clothes, Kaspar is choreographing a period piece both addressing the influence of mainstream culture as well as offering an insight into his own biography having grown up in Basel and New York at the time.
Pace (New York, London, Zuoz, Beijing, Hong Kong) presents ‘Mnemonic Vehicle (Ferrari)’ (2015), an installation by Vik Muniz comprising a life-size sculpture of the iconic Matchbox toy car at St. Martin’s church. A project about memory, desire and scale, the artist has been collecting vintage toy cars from flea markets, old toyshops and eBay over the last year, considering the importance of toys and playing to our adult selves.