Paris+ par Art Basel Highlights
From 18–22 October 2023, the second edition of Paris+ by Art Basel modern and contemporary art returns under the vaults of the Grand Palais Éphémère. Highlights from Paris+ par Art Basel 2023 included artworks from renowned artists and emerging talents.
Over the past three decades, Turner Prize-winning sculptor, Royal Academician Tony Cragg has been practicing a complex approach to polymorphic forms that has broadened and transformed the audience’s understanding of what sculpture can be, and demonstrated how to imagine beyond the confines of the quotidian and utilitarian spheres.
He harnesses the expressive potential of materials and the interpretive syntheses of energies therein. In his Incidents series, Cragg exploits the innate physical strength of steel to look at the essence of gravity-resisting structures without resorting to industrially formatted materials, such as i-beams and the sheet materials that have dominated and dictated steel forms since the beginning of its historical usage in sculpture making. These upright formations pulse with positive and negative space and refute any proclivity of gravity or stasis.
Since the 1960s, Arte Povera pioneer Giuseppe Penone has challenged the boundaries between nature and the human body primarily through sculpture, though he’s also created performances, installations, photographs, and works on paper.
Penone’s work has achieved seven figures at auction and belongs in the collections of the Centre Pompidou, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Tate. Penone infuses his sharp and angular canvases with the soft ripples inherent to the surfaces found in nature such as skin, tree bark, or rock formations.
This evocative diptych of Penone is comprised of a slab of marble alongside a canvas adorned with an array of delicate but sharp acacia thorns, combining the traditional with the modern. By his astute use of materials, Penone combines the ancient and modern traditions of his home country – Italy.
Gabriel Orozco gained his reputation in the early 1990s with his exploration of drawing, photography, sculpture, installation, and expanding later to include painting. His work blurs the boundaries of art with everyday realities and his diverse practice often embraces complex geometries, familiar materials, and an element of whimsy or chance.
Orozco has been the subject of solo exhibitions at institutions including the Museo del Palacio de Bellas Artes, the Serpentine Galleries, Tate Modern, the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenheim Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, among others. He has participated in the Venice Biennale, the São Paulo Bienal, and Documenta.
Throughout his career, Daniel Buren has created artworks that complicate the relationship between art and the structures that frame it. His visual tool is based on the use of alternating stripes, which let him reveal the significant details of the site where he is working, by employing them in specific, and at times complex, structures lying somewhere between painting, sculpture and architecture.
His in-situ works play with points of view, spaces, colours, light, movement, the surrounding environment, angles or projections, acquiring their decorative force by radically transforming the sites. In this work, Buren uses the mutability of colours in relation to the light as an extension and counterbalance of the precise geometry of lines. The work activates in this way the space around it and remains open to a variety of unpredictable effects.
Eva Jospin is a French artist known for her elaborate cardboard sculptures. Jospin lends a sense of complicated depth to her sculptures despite them being constructed entirely out of flat planes. Winner of the Prix de l'Académie des Beaux-Arts in 2015 and resident at the Villa Medici in Rome in 2017, she has had numerous exhibitions of international importance, notably at the Palais de Tokyo, at the Palazzo Dei Diamanti in Ferrara and many more.
A mental forest of the Galeria artwork by Jospin takes the form of cardboard vegetation, at the border between the industrial and natural world, explored in all its possibilities, delicately cut out, sanded, and assembled.
A recipient of the 2009 MacArthur 'Genius Grant', Mark Bradford is a world-renowned abstract artist based in Los Angeles. Bradford's work predominantly takes the form of papier mâché painting-sculpture hybrids.
Often the artist will incorporate found materials embedded with their own meaning. Characterized by its layered formal, material, and conceptual complexity, Bradford’s work explores social and political structures that objectify marginalized communities and the bodies of vulnerable populations.
Antony Gormley is widely acclaimed for his sculptures, installations and public artworks that investigate the relationship of the human body to space.
His work has developed the potential opened up by sculpture since the 1960s through a critical engagement with both his own body and those of others in a way that confronts fundamental questions of where human beings stand in relation to nature and the cosmos. Gormley continually tries to identify the space of art as a place of becoming in which new behaviours, thoughts and feelings can arise.
Oliver Beer trained in musical composition before attending the Ruskin School of Art, University of Oxford, and studying cinematic theory at the Sorbonne, Paris. This musical background is reflected in his live performances, films, installations and sculptures, which reveal the hidden acoustic properties of vessels, bodies, and architectural environments.
His Resonance Painting series visualises the harmonies that the artist cultivates through his sculptural, painting and performance practices. Each painting is named after a song that Beer was listening to at the period of making the work.
While Robert Longo has worked in a variety of media, including performance, photography, sculpture and painting, he is best known for his large-scale, hyperrealistic charcoal portraits that consider power, authority, and social unrest. He often uses a monochromatic palette, carefully building his charcoal surfaces to create a sense of depth and contrast.
The narrative strength and emotive impact of his works come from the transformation of the intimate practice of drawing into the monumental scale of painting, as well as the meticulous detail he achieves in charcoal.
JR’s blown-up photographs are pasted on mainly urban surfaces such as the sides of buildings, bridges, rooftops and even trains.
Not only do they confront the public audience, they help engage audiences where they least expect it while involving their respective communities in an artistic action that consolidates their relationship to their immediate surroundings; JR’s art is about asking questions and opening a conversation between people. In this artwork, from above, the children (with Ukrainian girl among them) were captured playing together, with their youthful aura inspiring hope.
Adel Abdessemed embraces a wide variety of media, including drawing, sculpture, performance, video and installation. His work often deals with the themes of war, violence and religion and is characterised by brutal imagery that attempts to depict the inherent violence of the contemporary world.
Memory, trauma, conflagration, intoxication, and lucidity are the themes the French artist of Berber origin is working on. These three female nudes, recalling the Three Graces, were inspired by a picture seen in newspapers. The picture shows the german chancellor, smiling, nude.
Francis Upritchard has achieved international renown for her idiosyncratic figurative sculptures. Her work is keenly observant of human nature, and treads the line between realism and fantasy. Her figures, a group of misfits and travelling players, appear to taking part in a pageant or masquerade, with their expressions melancholic and distant, seemingly questing for something beyond reach.
The artist’s work draws on figurative sculpture, craft traditions and design, blending references from literature to Japanese folklore, Indian miniatures to Romanesque frescoes, and ancient sculptures and burial grounds to science fiction.
Juxtaposing organic and geometric forms, Luiz Zerbini’s paintings explore the relationship between colour, light and movement. The grid – a formal leitmotif closely associated with modernism – heavily features in the artist’s recent paintings, a subtle nod to the mosaic pavements and façades of Brazilian tower blocks.
Using it as a compositional structuring device, numerous works show geometric forms blended with lush, tropical flora. A cacophony of colour, these works convey the immersive and seductive quality of Brazil’s natural environment.
Jannis Varelas unveils the surprising side of banal elements in everyday life. His works stage collisions between the optimism of modernist avant-garde aesthetics. Playfully fusing abstraction and realistic representation, his paintings explore lived spaces through a myriad of collage-like details.
His paintings are the outcome of a process of reinvention and metamorphosis of the self, while he goes back to the images of the body, exploring the form and the cultural representations of the human figure and its psychological landscape. His work reflects on social issues and the plight of humanity in world history, but the thematic content is expressed through allusions that spontaneously follow the artist’s trains of thought.
Kader Attia grew up in both Algeria and the suburbs of Paris, and uses this experience as a starting point to develop a dynamic practice that reflects on aesthetics and ethics of different cultures.
He takes a poetic and symbolic approach to exploring the wide-ranging repercussions of Western modern cultural hegemony and colonialism on non-Western cultures, investigating identity politics of historical and colonial eras, from Tradition to Modernity, in the light of our globalized world, of which he creates a genealogy. He is the winner of 2017 Joan Miró Prize and in 2016 he won the Prix Marcel Duchamp.