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Kawamata, Catwalk, 2004. Wood and steel, four meters high.
Photo courtesty of Annely Juda Fine Art, London.
the past five years, Art Basel has organized Art Unlimited, a contemporary
art event that offers artists a venue to display works that go beyond
the space possibilities of ordinary art exhibitions. Last year, 69 projects
were selected from 130 submissions. Large installations, video projections,
outsize paintings and sculptures, performances, and digital art by artists
from all over the worldCanada, North and South America, Europe,
Africa, India, and Asiawere included. All of the works were shown
in an open exhibition layout curated by Simon Lamunière. Many projects
were created especially for Art Unlimited.
Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata erected a four-meter-high wood and steel
Catwalk through the hall. Visitors were able to walk along it and to survey
the exhibition. Kawamata's work suggests temporality, and he has always
been intent on opening the viewers eyes and mind. His architectural
installations enable visitors to experience ordinary spaces in different
Kawamatas catwalk, the view of Blade runnerPlate, Convex,
ConcaveBasel 2004 by Richard Serra was breathtaking. We are used
to Serra's extraordinary ability to master iron and steel and to play
with the off-balanced effect of his monumental pieces, but Plate, Convex,
Concave exceeds the experience of previous works. It is made from one
plate of five-centimeter-thick steel and weighs about 32 tons. Still,
we feel as if we could move it with a finger. Even if we know its equilibrium
is perfect, our senses are alerted; we feel in danger.
occupied a large space with I met, made of 12 pictures and 12 books produced
between May 10, 1968 and September 17, 1970. During this period, Kawara
kept a chronological record of all of his conversations and all of his
travels. The books total 4,782 pages.
Margolles En el aire. Bubble machine, soap, water, and air
from the Mexico City morgue. Photo courtesy of
Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich.
conceptual to comic-conceptual, Fat HouseI love my time, I don't
like my time by Austrian artist Erwin Wurm was a walk-in, cartoon-style
house made of aluminum, wood, and Styrofoam. Inside, the house was painted
black. A DVD projected a video on the only white part of the room: in
the video, an animated car moves its eyes (front lights) and mouth (radiator)
while talking, sharing its thoughts about our time in language used by
junkies and the military. The artist says, "The car and the house
are the most prestigious object of our time. In the old societies the
important people were heavy and strongit was a way to show their
importance and wealth. Today this has changedthe upper classes are
slim and fit. Only the status symbols are showing "importance."
aire, by Mexican artist Teresa Margolles, is a machine that produces soap
bubbles from water used to wash corpses prior to autopsy in the Mexico
City morgue. The artist says, "My work shocks. But as long as depravity,
poverty, corruption, and unpunished murder exist I will not change the
concept of a work." Many visitors, not being aware of the meaning
of the work (and the origin of the water) played with the soap bubbles.
artist Olivier Mosset's block of ice, Toblerone, started to melt on the
evening of the vernissage; by the third day, it had completely liquefied.
The work's title referenced not only the popular candy, but also Swiss
World War II anti-tank blockades, which were built in the same triangular
shape as the chocolate bar and named for it. Mosset's work suggested an
ironic connection: both glaciers and anti-tank Toblerones share a common
fatethey disappear. Another connection was with the original Toblerone,
the milk chocolate, for which the sun is an enemy. Mosset is an artist
with a great sense of humor, and we must remember that Switzerland is
the land of Dada.
Acconci's Voice of America installation dates back to 1975. Two over-sized
wooden chairs occupy the end of a dark room. In front of the chairs, a
rope grid is installed; aerial views of America are projected through
the ropes. Two audio-speakers, located under the chairs, play music and
the voice of a mythical Mr. America talking to Mrs. America. Voice of
America, says Acconci, "was one of my first groping attempts to turn
space into place'
my pieces were starting to be
historicized, politicized." After almost 30 years, Acconci's message
still sounds, its relevance unmuted.
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