Purple Art

[June 30 2014]

Greetings from Art Basel 2014, Basel

Art Basel in Switzerland is my favorite of all the fairs. Business and pleasure unfold at a refined pace. The frantic energy of most other fairs crazed selling and buying at the fairs, running from party to party, attached to your phone coordinating who to meet when and where next and elbowing tourists out of your way during even the VIP previews – doesn’t weigh down on you as heavily. Sure, people spend their days bouncing between museums, fairs, exhibitions and meetings. But evenings are spent enjoying calm dinners alongside elegant guests. The master host, Knight Landesman, organized another set of his annual ArtForum dinners which are my favorite of the week. Mostly because he has perfected the art of the seating chart, guaranteeing an enjoyable table-mate. I think the pace is less frantic because the Swiss are rigid in their organization of things. They funnel people and activities with a particular focus which doesn’t leave much room for what you may imagine is most convenient. But that reserved nature is most certainly lifted during nights at the Kunsthalle, le Toris Rois or Lady Bar. This year, my friend Tolga and I along with Flash Art celebrated his birthday at Hinterhaus on Thursday night with an amazing group. I spent the night running between the venue’s composite rooms, stages, and decks hugging old and new friends and dancing away the week’s exhaustion. Art-wise, I’d been anticipating the installation by Xu Zhen at Unlimited. It was a mammoth sculptural collaging of casts taken from Grecco and Roman sculptures as well as Buddahs throughout China. The title of the installation (Eternity-Parthenon East pediment, Northern Qi golden and painted Buddha, Tang Dynasty torso of standing Buddha from Quyang city, Northern Qi painted Bodhisattva, Tang Dynasty seated Buddha from Tianlongshan, Northern Qi painted Buddha, Tang Dynasty torso) reveals the complexities and juxtapositions one finds in Zhen’s work. I was stoked to learn more about his conceptual practice and his collaborative endeavor Madein Company where he and other creatives explore the infinite possibilities within contemporary culture. I’m really attracted to his sense of combination and potentials. I like the idea of art as an intersection and a moment of choices. Text and Photo Cecilia Strucker

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