Art Unlimited is a curated sector of the Art Basel exhibition that is comprised of Major projects [i.e.: installations], which are exhibited in a hall of its own, separate from the Art Basel gallery booths. Art Unlimited can be compared to many of the major Using biennials, however only galleries showing at Art Basel can submit project proposals, which are then narrowed down and selected by a curator. This year the curator is the Geneva-based curator, Simon Lamuniere.
I have selected Art Unlimited as a platform to blog, as I find Art Basel too expansive and large too pick just a few works to discuss. When I first encountered Art Unlimited I had mixed feelings at some of the work, which oftentime seemed purely conceptual without any aesthetic forethought. However I have chosen a select few pieces to discuss and review which I found easily easier to relate to. So, this is a very biased and one sided selection of Art Unlimited; pieces which are more easier for a general public to relate to, either for a piece's aesthetic qualities or because the artist had a much more concise conceptual idea which doesn’t require half an hour to begin to dissect.
The artist has chosen an existing comic strip of Donald Duck as a springboard for this piece. In the background, one can see the original comic strip which has been enlarged so that the entire strip covers the length of the back wall. However, throughout the comic strip sections and scenes have been removed as if they had been cutout. Each of these cutout sections are then taken out of the context of comic strip and are enlarged to full sized free standing sculptures. Each of these sculptures is composed of prints on paper mounted onto a plywood backing with a plywood stand.
DAVID ZINK YI
David Zink Yi created a sculpture of a beached giant squid for this piece. Constructed out of Ceramic which is coated with copper and lead, this sculpture lies in a large puddle of water. Human knowledge of this animal has been limited to the findings of a few beached dead squid [until recently when a live giant squid was captured on camera]. Yi has brilliantly captured this limited human encounter of the giant squid in this full scale 16 foot long form.
CALLUM INNES AND COLM TOBIN
Water / colour
This collaborative project unites the work of a writer and of a watercolorist in a simple yet provocative installation. The artist Callum Innes was inspired by a short story by writer, Colm Tobin, so in response, Innes created 101 watercolors. The gallery, Sean Kelly, has taken excerpts from this short story and placed them amongst the 101 watercolors which are displayed in a haphazardly salon floor to ceiling installation.
Folding Four in one
Using a Brooklyn clock tower as his starting point, Lutter has created a unique perspective, allowing the viewer a glimpse of the view from the inside of this clocktower from all four directions the panes of glass face. This piece is constructed by placing film between 2 panes of glass, which are then suspended from the ceiling and secured to the floor with steel cable.
Okay, I lied. I said I was only going to discuss installations from Art Unlimited, but one booth at Art Basel stood out for being more of an installation and conceptual art piece in itself, rather than merely a booth for displaying art.
100 Tonson Gallery booth wall space
This Thai artist uses the walls of the gallery as his canvas as he creates a chalk drawing, which takes current political images from different cultures as his subject which are blended together, as to almost break down the cultural barriers between nations. At 6 o’clock on Friday afternoon the drawing was mostly complete, but the artist and an assistant were still working away, as if to say that social justice and political freedoms are still a work in progress.
Rirkrit Tiravanija and 100 Tonson Gallery are not only making a political statement at Art Basel, but also cultural statement to the art world. This is the first time that a Thai Gallery has been present at Art Basel to represent a Thai artist. Furthermore, 100 Tonson Gallery is the only gallery from Southeast Asia at Art Basel, an indicator that Southeast Asia is moving to the forefront of the art scene.