Art Basel moves far beyond the traditional notion of what constitutes an art fair. Truly international in nature, this year’s show again welcomes an eclectic collection of some of the world’s leading galleries ready to display some of today’s most groundbreaking works of art. It’s a special moment to be in Basel. From airport to train station, from hotel receptions to pop-up bars, everyone seems to be talking canvases and concepts. From eye-catching installations to pieces from both new and established artists, there is much to discover at Art Basel 2019. What caught my attention most, were the following works- with a meaningful purpose behind.
The Sounds that make up Silence: Jana Winderen and Fernando Mastrangelo for Audemars Piguet
Visitors to Art Basel 2019 with a yearning for an interlude of escape and contemplation would be wise to wander in to the Audemars Piguet lounge. This is the place to discover Norwegian artist Jana Winderen’s absorbing sound composition “Du Petit Risoud aux profondeurs du Lac de Joux”.
Audemars Piguet VIP Lounge at Art Basel 2019
The setting for this listening experience is the work of Brooklyn-based designer Fernando Mastrangelo and is a world away from the cacophony of New York. Instead, he has assembled images and textures capturing the majesty and tranquillity of the Vallée de Joux and Switzerland’s Jura Mountains. These then function as the backdrop for when the listener encounters the recordings made by Jana Winderen, a former marine biologist. The Vallée de Joux is, of course, home to Audemars Piguet creating a compelling link between the silence and precision of their watches and the sounds of nature which we so often miss.
Jana Winderen focuses on the many ways in which nature interacts and seeks to highlight just how fragile this world is. The time she spends, whether knee-deep in snow or crouched at the water’s edge has a clear aim – to capture the sounds that so often pass us by. From the wind passing through pine needles to the bubble of fish far below the surface of the Lac de Joux she wants us to experience and respect nature. The amplification techniques she uses introduced us to many of the smallest of sounds that speak of the power and vulnerability of the natural world.
The assembled work features a number of sounds – some familiar and others designed to prompt a reaction of “what is that?” This creates an experience designed to raise environmental awareness. The artist wants to drive an appreciation of nature and its seasonal variations and encourage us all to take time and listen more intently.
The Fusion between Nature and Culture: Federico Herrero for UBS
I continued my visit by taking in an exhibition supported by UBS marking its 26th year as Global Lead Partner for Art Basel. The displays showcase the work of Federico Herrero and I started off in the UBS VIP Lounge inside the collector’s area, where the artist has created an 11-meter mural on-site. Its scale is immense and it is also accompanied by a series of five new paintings in his distinctive abstract form drawing attention to what he sees as the fusion between nature and culture. Through the use of color and shape, he highlights the inherent tension around the allocation of space in a crowded world.
Artist Federico Herrero at the UBS VIP Lounge at Art Basel 2019
As with so much of his art, Herrero draws on the observations he makes from his life in San Jose, Costa Rica where he was born and has his studio. Internationally recognised and in the collections of museums, galleries and collectors alike, Herrero has worked closely with UBS over an eight-year relationship and Art Basel is just the latest element of that.
Frederico Herrero for UBS
“Once upon a time, 2019” by Peter Wüthrich
Who tells the story? Peter Wüthrich loves to play with our perceptions of books. He sees them sometimes as having human personalities and wanting to share themselves. But, do we want to open them to take part in the sharing experience? What can they offer us and do we really want to encounter it?
The artist has played with these ideas and has used books en masse almost as a sculptural form whether in blocks of colour on a wall or passive and grouped on the floor. His photographic work can provoke, amuse and then challenge our view of books. By placing them in quirky locations (often in the natural environment) or having them mimic human activity, he is asking some serious questions – ones that do not necessarily have a simple answer.
Nel-Olivia Waga meets the Swiss Artist Peter Wüthrich in front of his art work made of bookmarks “Once Upon a Time, 2019” at Art Basel 2019
Galleria Christian Stein Milan has worked with Peter Wüthrich to present “Once Upon a time 2019” at this year’s Art Basel. This exhibition is where I have met the artist to chat about exploring the journey of his art from past to present and the transformation this can represent.
“Once Upon A Time, 2019” by Peter Wüthrich at Art Basel 2019
With this work, Peter Wüthrich artist has explored the imagery of books by using bookmark laces as an innovative manifestation of raindrops. He wants the viewer to have a new way of experiencing nature and the sense of being “in the jungle” aims to show the transformation from then to now.
Sunglasses can speak: One All Every at Design Miami
Although they are often used to hide behind, this year’s Design Miami has a fresh new take on sunglasses using them as a way to deliver a strong and visible environmental message. It’s all part of an environment initiative, One All Every designed to raise awareness of the ongoing threat of climate change. The approach is, however, an optimistic one built on the belief that it is never too late to try to build a more sustainable future. To do this, we need to think differently and that means embracing the reality of the challenges we face.
One All Eyes Booth at Design Miami
One All Every has worked closely with RVS Eyewear to launch See A Clean Future (SACF), a range of environmentally-friendly colored sunglasses each created to make a statement about the live and active threats to the four elements which blend to form our world: Earth, Water, Fire and Air.
Sustainable Sunglasses to “See a Clean Future”
Wearing the sunglasses prompts thoughts about what we put into our soil, how we contaminate our rivers and oceans, what happens when we burn our forests and the consequences of our polluting vehicles and power stations. The materials used to make the glasses are entirely eco-friendly and they are easy to recycle or allow to biodegrade. However, the color, design and purpose encourage their long-term use.
The SACF launch is at Design Miami in Basel in an exhibition put together by Swiss contemporary artist Ugo Rondinone. As well as showcasing the sunglasses, the display promotes the SACF mission and explains the charitable benefits of choosing from this range of eyewear. Making the decision to buy supports the work of the Jane Goodall Institute, the Green Belt Movement and the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation.
“See a Clean Future” by One All Every at Design Miami
At the end of this fair, the contemporary booth design which is made of wood and earth will be parted and transformed into small paintings in frames. Each of these “paintings” will become part of an artsy, limited edition sunglasses box.
Founded in 2014, re-launched in 2019 – by Nel-Olivia Waga. It is an international luxury lifestyle blog, that features stories under the aspect of a conscious mindset. It collaborates with leading brands and specialists who share the idea of generating a positive impact in the world. Based in Zurich and London, it covers local hotspots and global trends around sustainability, innovation, well-being, health, beauty, travel, time, art, business and charity.
Nel-Olivia Waga is the Founder & Publisher of HER/etiquette. She is a Conscious Luxury Marketing Specialist, an Author and Entrepreneur, most passionate about well-being, travel, nature and art. Her work can regularly be seen in her column on FORBES. Her consultancy YMPACT LAB, creates innovative marketing projects for luxury brands based on passion, purpose and sustainable impact.
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