Magazine article Sculpture

BASEL: "Art Unlimited"

Magazine article Sculpture

BASEL: "Art Unlimited"

Article excerpt

Art Basel

Franz West's attention-grabbing Gekröse introduced the "Art Unlimited" section of Art Basel with a colorful flourish. The monumental, anthropomorphic form in eye-popping, pink-lacquered aluminum resembled a Jurassic cephalopod, or an oversize human intestine. The spectacle darkened with Michael Sailstorfer's invasive installation If I should Die in a Car Crash, it Was Meant to be a Sculpture (2011). The fake fiberglass 550 Porsche Spider is gutted, going nowhere in a visceral embodiment of Roland Barthes's sentiments in "Death of the Author."

Walead Beshty's Copper Surrogate offered quieter pleasures in the form of simple material beauty. Like much of his work, it subverts artistic categories, filling the gap between object and creative process. The nine copper sheets rely on the metal's reactive sensitivity to touch, which triggers oxidation followed by changes in color and surface accretions. The process is continually activated by the installers who handle the work, and the piece, which appeared here in its third incarnation, continues to transform. Ricci Albenda's hanging sculpture Open Universe-Idra (2001) offers similarly subtle pleasures, this time based on line. The three-dimensional drawing, composed of thin bent willow ribs, creates a space whose mode of abstraction is analogous to a fisheye lens.

I am still trying to figure out the title of Valentin Carron's They I you he we. Maybe it means nothing more than that things and events may have many different meanings. The sculpture itself is simple, repulsive, and fascinating. A wrought-iron, two-headed serpent hangs down from a beam. One head, just centimeters from the floor, appears harmless enough; but the second, at the other end of the snake's body, dangles just at the level of our vital organs. A few steps away, Richard Jackson brought back a smile with Big Pig, a fiberglass and aluminum stylization of a pink pig. Raqs Media Collective's Revoltage is a large light bulb sculpture that alternately illuminates the words "revolt" and "voltage." Though the trick is not new, the intention is timely: "a subliminal suggestion that brightens our days with the brilliance of a form of rebel power that refuses to either name itself or be named. …

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