Monday, June 11, Parcours Opening, 1 pm to 8 pm
Tuesday, June 12 to Friday, June 15, 10 am to 8 pm
Saturday, June 16, 10 am to 12 midnight
Sunday, June 17, 10 am to 7 pm
Free public Access
Elmgreen & Dragset und Nedko Solakov
Elmgreen & Dragset: 'Hanging Rock' (2017)
Elmgreen & Dragset often layer their artworks with dual meanings. In this case, one might turn to the adage 'between a rock and a hard place,' a Phrase employed to describe an unpleasant situation with no viable way out. But in the staging of this artwork, the rock Plays even more so with our ideas of nature and natural phenomena. Gravity seems to be defied as well as our preconceived expectations of natural beauty. In principle, the heavy, bleak rock is by no means a beautiful object. It rather communicates a feeling of being stuck in life. The suspension and tension within the work suggests, nevertheless, that a productive outcome will emerge from this challenging situation, and it is often when we are stuck that we are forced to make existential decisions in life.
Nedko Solakov: 'Antikendoodles' (2018)
'I have been discretely slipping into various museums sites with my tiny stories since 1992. The first project was called Nine Objects, which I created for the National Museum of History in Sofia in 1992, placing nine contemporary objects among the permanent displays - such as a plastic coffee cup inside the glass case showing a millennia-old golden vessel. There was no special announcement of these barely visible objects, hence the visitors' surprise when they saw them. Since that time, I have been "fooling around” in many museums collections, always respecting the artefacts, trying to make my comments almost invisible, yet still discoverable. For the Antikenmuseum in Basel I was more than happy to doodle tiny fables over the glass cases storing the museum's permanent displays. The stories around the precious objects are often related to the very distant past, but they mainly talk about our uncertain present and our hard-to-imagine future.' - Nedko Solakov
Historisches Museum Basel - Barfüsserkirche
Caroline Mesquita's site-specific installation takes place in the Barfüsserkirche - Historisches Museum Basel. In conjunction with her new video work The Machine Room, anthropomorphic life-size sculptures are shown merging with the sculptures of the church. In many of her sculptural installations and flat metal works, Mesquita explores the vitality and complexity of group behavior. Raw material provides the spark that animates her engagement with notions of religion, transformation, sensuality, and sociability. Mesquita's works are darkened, patinated, and roughly textured through an oxidation process. Using this technique, Mesquita manipulates metal as if it were a form of painting. What was once shiny, reflective, and glossy is cut, grinded, welded, melted, and oxidized to reveal the many elements within. Textures and tones shift to become matte, green, brown, and pink. These material transformations provide her with a format for storytelling and an allegory for human experience and relationships.
Historisches Museum Basel - Haus zum Kirschgarten
Simon Denny, Marina Pinsky, Paloma Varga Weisz
As we reach a new era of centralization of the internet, an alternate web based on the digital currency Bitcoin and its transaction ledger blockchain is being imagined and built. Entrepreneurs, engineers, and marketers talk of a new 'decentralized' web where centralized platform giants will be superseded. Claims of an alternatively architected system where users can monetize their own data is being seen as an exciting breakthrough in the technology sector. Simon Denny's new artworks unpack these narratives imagining centralized vs decentralized networks, using imagery and rhetoric from crypto Twitter feeds, Medium think-pieces, Reddit fan art, and various company websites. These relics are then overprinted digitally onto found game-board editions of the Milton Bradley classic The Game of Life. A contemporary gaming and miniatures store called the 'Fantastic Workshop' stands in contrast to the existing antique game section of the Historisches Museum Basel, highlighting the way gaming has framed and reflected politics, technology, and culture in different eras.
Marina Pinsky's installation places two series of sculptural works alongside artifacts from the Haus zum Kirschgarten collection. One series of foam blocks, resembling layered topographies, have cast aluminum weapons embedded into their surfaces. These are modeled after knives and other objects seized by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at Airport security checkpoints in the United States, as pictured on their official Instagram account. The other is a set of meat stand sculptures, originally conceived for the Vleeshaal, a gothic-style building in the Netherlands which functioned at once as town hall and meat market in the early development of market societies in Europe.
Set in the basement of the Haus zum Kirschgarten, her works stand in contrast with the elaborate metalwork and porcelain of the collection displayed in vitrines. Pinsky engages audiences in a dialogue of past, present, and future, highlighting how economies, trade, and cultural identities have evolved over time.
Paloma Varga Weisz
Paloma Varga Weisz's installation in the intimate space of the Kirschgarten Pavilion centres on a simple wooden cabinet. Echoing the miniature design of the building itself, this is a contained unit, and houses an array of crafted and found objects. These allude variously to folklore, religious iconography, and the dissonant objects of surrealism, while evoking the tradition of the wunderkammer - the 'cabinet of curiosities' - that became a dominant mode of collecting in the Renaissance. The wunderkammer can also be seen as the precursors to modern museums, marking out the evolution of science and categorical thought. Ambivalent in their relation to each other, Varga Weisz's objects express a myriad of emotional registers - childlike anthropomorphism, the tranquillity of archaic statuaries, cartoonish wit, or a note of melancholy. Varga Weisz works in sculpture, painting, and drawing to explore themes of memory, mortality, and the tragicomic. Having trained as a woodcarver in Bavaria, she has continued to develop this technique, tapping into its rich iconographic history.
Museum der Kulturen Basel
In the hands of Simon Starling, cultural histories are torn apart and pieced back together to create a broad network in which fragmented histories find themselves ensnared in the weave of the artist's mindmaps. Some of these new narratives take on heightened, complex meanings, while others are playfully distilled. Starling's One Hundred and Seventy-Five consists of multiple, interconnected elements, born out of international collaborations with over a dozen craftspeople and artists, including long-time collaborator and Noh mask maker Yasuo Miichi and a Japanese lacquer (Urushi) master Masahiko Sakamoto, among others. Comprised of a variety of materials including photography, film, stretched gold, tungsten, Japanese lacquer, carved wood, and marble, the works are devised as portraits devoted to a particular maker or group of makers. The project continues Starling's longstanding interest in modes of production and the complexities of authorship.
Naturhistorisches Museum Basel
Shot in Southeast Asia, Julian Charrière's new film An Invitation to Disappear records a psychosocial transcendent rave set in the fields of a monoculture palm oil plantation. A linear camera shot through nauseatingly infinite rows of trees is underpinned by the mesmerizing pulse of natural sounds and techno beats, developed together with the British DJ and producer Inland. The film also marks the first outcome of the artist's collaboration with philosopher Dehlia Hannah, responding to the 200th anniversary of a volcanic eruption in Indonesia that plunged the world into darkness and weather extremes - a climate cooling crisis remembered in Europe as the 'year without a summer.' The delirium of the rave feels increasingly alienating within the man-made grid of the plantation, culminating in feelings of unease competing with the temptation of intrigue. Fog, flashing strobes, and overwhelming sounds turn the palm grove into a melancholic party zone in which the lack of people only exacerbates the dystopian tone.
Room with Three Dead Birds and Falling Dictionary is a large space covered with a layer of unprepared canvas under which there are several layers of foam - and, as the title indicates, three dead birds. Because of the many layers of foam it is impossible to see where exactly the birds are hidden, leaving the viewer in an uncomfortable situation. Everywhere we walk, after all, we tread on unperceived layers on death, by walking on soil and the plants and insects therein.
On the walls there are eight works on paper which depict falling dictionaries. As is often the case with Mark Manders, he is predominantly interested in the Images that these words generate. In this case, Manders yokes together two words that are very rarely put together in a sentence ('falling' and 'dictionary') to create a poetical image. Further, the dictionaries have been painted on his self-made fake newspapers, which he has been producing since 2005.
Cabra-Cega / Blind Man's Bluff draws its inspiration from an old children's game known as 'blind man's bluff.' In translating drawings from a child's notebook via the blind drawing technique, Rivane Neuenschwander observes the source imagery but not her own hand as she makes marks on paper. Upon entering a darkened space, viewers encounter these images of monsters, imaginary creatures, and scenes of war and destruction that flash on and off, set to a specifically commissioned soundtrack by the experimental musician Arto Lindsay. Within the vein of Brazilian conceptualism, Neuenschwander has developed a unique practice to investigate phenomena that lie just outside our collective field of vision. She has become widely regarded for her ephemeral, engaging work that explores the narratives of language, nature, and social interactions. Each work begins with a particular cultural idea - a game, a religious offering, or a childhood memory - that is then dissected and reborn in Neuenschwander's distinctive style.