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5 Art Basel highlights you mustn't miss!

Published on 6/9/2016 by Christoph Spangenberg

With all the highlights being featured at the forthcoming Art Basel have you still managed to retain an overview? We're setting out five highlights that you mustn't miss when the international art world meets up again in Basel from 16 to 19 June 2016.

1. Parcours: Art by Iván Navarro in the Birsig Tunnel

Art Basel: Traffic, Ivan Navarro

Unpleasant odours were banished from here a long time ago. No sewage has flowed through the historical tunnel under the famous Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois for many decades. Instead, the river Birsig gently ripples along, making its way into the Rhine. During Art Basel, Iván Navarro's installation entitled "Traffic" is being presented by the Galerie Daniel Templon (Paris, Brussels) in this former sewer tunnel. Seven traffic lights hang from the ceiling, rotate and switch continuously from green to yellow and red; Navarro thus detaches an everyday element from its day-to-day setting.

Update: Due to weather conditions the installation "Traffic" will be presented in St. Alban-Rheinweg, underneath Wettsteinbrücke.

Art Basel: Labyrinth, Sam Durant

"Traffic" is one of 19 site-specific works of art in the Parcours sector. Around the Münsterplatz, in the historic centre of Basel, the Parcours takes up Basel's past and present. On the Münsterplatz itself is Sam Durant's large-scale "Labyrinth" in chain-link fencing material. This installation has been developed in cooperation with US prison inmates and is centred on the themes of freedom and imprisonment, movement and immovability. The work is being presented by Blum & Poe (Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo), Paula Cooper Gallery (New York), and Sadie Coles HQ (London). The highlight of the sector is the Parcours Night on 18 June from 18:00 to 24:00 with different performances in six locations.


2. Unlimited: 88 oversized works in Hall 1


This is one of the most famous recording studios in the history of music. It was in the Columbia 30th Street Studio in Manhattan that classics like Pink Floyd's "The Wall" and Miles David's "Kind of Blue" came into being. Stan Douglas' installation entitled "Luanda-Kinshasa" is a reconstruction of this legendary studio, including an improvising band of professional musicians. The work of art, which is being presented by David Zwirner (New York, London), documents a fictitious studio recording from the 1970s and forms part of the Unlimited sector.


The name gives it away already: In "Unlimited" this year, a record number of 88 oversized sculptures, video projections, wall pieces, installations, photo series and performance works of art are being presented that would not fit on a classical exhibition stand. The highlights also include "Gli (Wall)" by El Anatsui. Thousands of crown corks and other recycled materials have been made into five curtain-like components that constitute a powerful intervention in the room.


3. Zome Alloy: Installation by Oscar Tuazon on Exhibition Square

Art Basel 2016, Basel; Zome Alloy (MCH Group)

"Zome Alloy" by Oscar Tuazon is an architectural structure and an adptation of Steve Baer's ‘Zome House’ (1972). This work of art raises the question as to all the different forms that a house can take. During Art Basel, "Zome Alloy" will be accommodating a number of events, including the second Alloy Conference. There, experts will be discussing the topics of energy, structure, materials and alternative building services technologies. The first Alloy Conference was organised by Steve Baer in 1969.

> Zome Alloy media release (pdf)

4. Feature: Stravinsky meets abstract painting

Documenta Kassel: Kounellis

Jannis Kounellis' "Da inventare sul posto" is a mixture of painting and performance and constitutes one of the highlights in the Feature sector. A violinist plays a few bars of Stravinsky's "La Pulcinella" in front of an abstract painting and a ballerina dances unchoreographed to the music. The work is being re-staged at Art Basel and is being presented by Luxembourg & Dayan (New York, London). In the Feature sector, galleries are presenting focused curatorial projects, exhibiting both historic and contemporary works.



5. Film: a detective work of art "Where is Rocky II?"

Pierre Wismuth: Rocky II

A documentary film, detective story and a work of art, all in one: this year's film programme at Art Basel in Basel (13 June 2016, as of 22:00) is opening with an exclusive preview of Pierre Bismuth's "Where is Rocky II?". This film, presented by team (gallery, inc.), Jan Mot and Christine König, centres on the artist's search for a rock left in the Mojave Desert in the late 1970s and shows how we project our fantasies. "History's Future", Fiona Tan's first fiction film, shows the fate of a person who is so badly beaten up during an attack that she loses all her memories and has to rebuild her life.


The European edition of Art Basel 2016 is being staged at Messe Basel from 16 to 19 June. Preview Days on 14 and 15 June 2016.

Christoph Spangenberg

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