Spotted at Art Basel 2023
The art world meets in Basel these days. Discover selected artworks observed at Art Basel 2023 in Basel, presented with the gallery booths and Unlimited sector.
David Zwirner is debuting STRIP-TOWER (2023), a new work by Gerhard Richter, at Art Basel Unlimited. Standing at more than three meters tall, the work is a multi-panel installation that unites several threads of the artist’s long-standing inquiry into the nature of visual representation. The work is constructed with eight glossy perpendicular panels that reflect their surroundings, collapsing the division between the picture plane and the outside world.
British sculptor Tony Cragg explores the complex relationships between the natural and man-made world to create an innovative, distinctive sculptural language. A self-described 'radical materialist', the artist is interested in the internal structures of material that result in their external appearance. He constantly explores and expands the possibilities of new materials which, in turn, help to determine the form each sculpture takes and the emotional register it occupies.
The image of the vase of flowers is used by Marc Chagall as a symbol to express the profound and all-encompassing love the artist felt for his first wife, Bella. Motifs of love and flowers permeate the entire œuvre of Marc Chagall. His return to France in 1948, where he settled in Vence, marked a significant period for the artist's work. Here, he had bouquets of freshly cut flowers delivered to his studio daily so that he could explore their form and colour in varying mediums.
Intimate, casual, direct and personal, Alice Neel's paintings exist as an unparalleled chronicle of New York personalities – both famous and unknown. Born near Philadelphia in 1900, Alice Neel was one of the foremost American figurative painters and one of the most engaging painters of her times. A painter of people, cityscapes, landscapes and still lifes she was a woman with a strong social conscience and equally strong left-wing beliefs.
Bridget Riley’s intricate, stylish geometric abstractions helped pioneer the Op Art movement in the 1960s. The British painter arrayed colorful shapes across her canvases in a way that induced the appearance of vibration or movement. Riley is a consistent innovator in her field who experiments constantly with new ideas that mark new departures.
Yinka Shonibare’s practice questions the meaning of cultural and national definitions. Describing himself as a ‘post-colonial hybrid’, he creates work that explores issues of race and class through various media. From his fourth-plinth installation Nelson's Ship in a Bottle in Trafalgar Square to his signature headless mannequins clothed in Dutch wax batik fabric, his works powerfully speak to the world.
This year Art Basel presented rare and early works of Louise Bourgeois: featuring a wooden Personage sculpture, a spider wall sculpture and an early painting. She is the artist best known for her large-scale sculptures and installations that are inspired by her own memories and experiences. Using drawings, prints, sculpture she explored a variety of themes including domesticity and the family, sexuality and the body, as well as death and the unconscious.
A founder member of the Blue Rider, the art group at the heart of German Expressionism, Gabriele Münter developed a spontaneous painting method that captured the essence of things. Sensation was vital to Münter, whose artistic career spanned multiple decades and mediums. She began to study drawing, printmaking, sculpture, and painting as a young woman in Munich, where she met Vasily Kandinsky, a teacher who nurtured her art.
The sculpture "Éponge rose (SE 199)", presented at Art Basel this year, is one of only seven rare examples of Yves Klein's iconic sponge sculptures. Sponges have played a fundamental role in Yves Klein's work since 1956, as he first used them as a vehicle for paint to avoid brushstrokes before deciding to apply the paint with a hand roller. For Klein, the natural material of the sponge was a symbol for the mediation between the spiritual, immaterial world and the material world of nature.
Thomas Ruff’s d.o.pe. series, the title of which references Aldous Huxley’s autobiographical volume The Doors of Perception, feature fractal patterns, that the artist creates with a specialized software program, printed onto industrial carpets. These works reflect Ruff’s ongoing pursuit of the visual expression of the beauty of mathematics. Moreover, “d.o.pe.” extends Ruff’s exploration of human perception and his interest in digital imagery that appears both natural and artificial, ultimately foregrounding the pure pleasure of visuality.