Art Basel 2024 Highlights. Part 3

Publication about the artworld

Art Basel 2024 Highlights. Part 3

Artwork Highlights from Art Basel, world's foremost contemporary art fair.

«We are completely immersed in violence every day, and we’ve gotten used to it. The repetition has made us accept violence as inevitable,» — Maurizio Cattelan. Cattelan compounds the response to economic inequality in his new artwork, using precious metal to deconstruct the USA’s relationship to the accessibility of weapons. Panel of stainless steel, plated in 24-karat gold, have been “modified” by gunfire, with craters and holes, evoking a history of guns in art that stretches from Edouard Manet’s The Execution of Emperor Maximilian (1868–69) to Chris Burden’s Shoot (1971) and William Burroughs’s shotgun paintings.

Perhaps best known for his colorful paintings of words, Mel Bochner helped pioneer Conceptual art. “Ha” in Mel Bochner's prominent artwork serves as an onomatopoeic expression denoting laughter, a usage that has become increasingly prevalent in today's digitally-driven society, where communication trends toward brevity. Through this phrase, Bochner toys with the sincerity of his creative endeavour, playfully acknowledging the lasting impact he has made on the world of conceptual art.

Piotr Uklanski is a contemporary American-Polish artist known for his eclectic body of work. The artist conflates ideas of the body, sexuality, politics, and popular culture through an array of mediums and methods. His slyly reconsidered portraits of Lizzie Siddall, Jane Morris, Emma Jones, Annie Miller, Fanny Eaton, and others who served as the muses and models for the all-male Pre-Raphaelites, Uklański shifts how the female figures appear as manifestations of male desire and fantasy in the original paintings.
Uklański’s works disrupt the view of the Pre-Raphaelite sisterhood as a group of objectified muses. His striking paintings bare their authorial positions as cultural contributors and formidable figures of art history in their own right.

Petrit Halilaj creates artworks that reflect a way to alter the course of personal and collective histories, creating complex worlds that claim space for freedom, desire, intimacy, and identity. His work is deeply connected to the recent history of his native country Kosovo and the consequences of cultural and political tensions in the region, which he often takes as a starting point for igniting countercurrent poetics for the future.
Halilaj’s practice can be seen as a playful and, at times, irreverent attempt to resist oppressive politics and social norms towards an untamed celebration of all forms of connectedness and freedom.


Foreigners Everywhere, which is featured this year in Venice, is a series of neon signs in several different languages. Claire Fontaine is a collective artist established by Fulvia Carnevale and James Thornhill and whose name refers to Marcel Duchamp’s seminal Fontaine piece and a French brand of school notebooks.
Through the appropriation and diversion of aesthetic cannons and grammars, akin to a form of post-modern uncanniness, Claire Fontaine addresses manifestations of failure, helplessness, and standardization in the clutch of social, political, cultural, and financial systems that define and structure contemporary Western societies.

“Money creates taste” is an ambiguous one-liner, which can be taken as possibly aspirational, or as an indictment of the effects of materialist culture. The heaviness of the stone adds to the symbolic weight of Jenny Holzer’s words.
By prompting the viewer to slow down and consider their own positions on the statements she offers, Holzer harnesses the power of language and transforms an otherwise mundane experience into a moment for reflection. From the late 1980s onwards, benches and footstools have formed a crucial part of Holzer’s work, which regularly combines texts with everyday forms in the public sphere.

How we stage our surroundings and how these surroundings become the scenery of both festive and tragic moments, recurring home rituals, and lonely daydreams are the subjects that interest the artist. Utilizing diverse media, including installations, sculptures, video works, animated films, short stories, paintings and drawings, photography, new media, and stage design Hans Op de Beeck creates deserted often monochromatic scenes that can evoke both peacefulness and melancholia: they can be experienced as beautiful or uncomfortable, as banal or serious.
His work is a reflection on our complex society and the universal questions of meaning and mortality that resonate within it. He regards man as a being who stages the world around him in a tragicomic way.

Chiharu Shiota participated in Unlimited, presenting her site-specific installation The Extended Line at Art Basel this year. Using woven yarn, the artist combines performance, body art and installations in a process that places at its center the body. Her protean artistic approach plays with the notions of temporality, movement and dreams, and demands a dual engagement from the viewer, both physical and emotional.
The Extended Line is a profound exploration of human experience through art. Inspired by her journey as a cancer survivor, Shiota creates an immersive environment that resonates with universal themes of life, death, and connection. The 16 × 9 meter installation features hundreds of kilometers of red ropes suspended above open hands, from which red papers seem to fly out. This powerful piece invites viewers to contemplate their own experiences and emotions, underscoring the shared joys and sufferings of humanity.
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