This week sees the return of Art Basel to the Swiss city. We celebrate the 47th edition of the international fair, which features an inspiring programme of 286 galleries from across the world and also encourages a wealth of external events such as SCOPE Art Show, Design Miami/ Basel and VOLTA to emerge. In our 5 To See this weekend, we focus on Art Basel’s line-up of pioneering shows across a range of sectors: Galleries, Unlimited, Parcours, Film and Feature. Highlights include the Swiss premiere of Douglas Gordon’s collaborative performance Bound to Hurt, a full-length screening of Omer Fast’s Continuity, the revival of Jannis Kounellis’ To Invent on the Spot from the 1970s and the introduction of Alfredo Jaar’s The Gift; a public intervention that encourages visitors to consider the topic of mass migration in Europe today.
1. Douglas Gordon, Bound to Hurt, Theater Basel, Kleine Bühne
Working in partnership with Theater Basel, the fair hosts the Swiss premiere of Bound to Hurt. A collaboration between Laura Berman, Opera Director, Theater Basel; Turner-prize winning artist Douglas Gordon; performer and soprano Ruth Rosenfeld; British composer Philip Venables and German-Icelandic Ensemble Adapter, this dark musical performance explores the sensitive topic of domestic violence. The piece utilises a range of media including experimental music, installation and performance to portray a spectrum of emotional states such as love and hate, tenderness and aggression.
2. Sprueth Magers, Galleries and Unlimited
Alongside it’s individual booth (B150), which showcases the gallery’s breadth of artistic representation, Sprueth Magers participates in this year’s Unlimited sector. Curated by New York-based curator Gianni Jetzer, Unlimited is Art Basel’s exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art-show stand. Sprueth Magers and fellow galleries present key works by prominent practitioners in their own fields Frank Stella (Damascus Gate (Stretch Variation I), 1970), Joseph Kosuth (‘Titled (Art as Idea as Idea)’ [nothing], 1968) and Pamela Rosenkranz (Blue Runs, 2016).
3. Alfredo Jaar, The Gift, (Goodman Gallery, Lelong, Lia Rumma, kamel mennour, Thomas Schulte), Parcours
Alfredo Jaar joins the line-up of pioneering artists exhibiting in Parcours; a sector that engages the public and fairgoers by placing site-specific sculptures, interventions, and performances in the city’s neighbourhoods. Jaar’s piece The Gift (2016) focuses on the theme of mass migration in Europe and can be encountered on and around Münsterplatz. For this public intervention, the artist has asked volunteers to distribute blue cardboard boxes, offering them as gifts. Instructions ask participants to open and re-fold the boxes inside out, turning them into donation-boxes.
4. Omer Fast, Continuity, Film
The fair’s week-long programme of films by and about artists is curated by Maxa Zoller. Following last year’s collaboration with Art Basel, the Festival del film Locarno will present the Swiss premiere of Omer Fast’s Continuity (2016) accompanied by a Q&A with the artist filmmaker and Sergio Fant, festival programmer. The film follows a narrative of an emotional homecoming, which turns uncanny. It joins a wealth of new works screening at Art Basel including Fiona Tan’s History’s Future (2016), as well as Short Film programme, Migrating Birds.
5. Jannis Kounellis, To Invent on the Spot, 1972, Luxembourg & Dayan, Feature
Luxembourg & Dayan hosts a restaging of Jannis Kounellis’ historic work Da inventare sul posto (To Invent on the Spot, 1972) as part of the fair’s Feature sector; a platform for gallerists to curate shows of work by established and historical artists. Kounellis’ piece, which debuted at Documenta 5, features a violinist who, standing to one side of an abstract painting depicting bars of music, plays a short musical sequence while a ballerina improvises a dance in front of the work. Both violinist and ballerina then repeat the score and choreography in a loop.
1. Jannis Kounellis, Da inventare sul posto (To Invent on the Spot), 1972.