Guided tour of the fair’s avenues
With their bustling halls, restaurants and cafes, talks, symposia and performances, art fairs can often feel like pop-up cities. (Some fairs even have their own newspapers.) So Alexie Glass-Kantor (left), the curator of this year’s “Encounters”, the exhibition within the fair dedicated to large-scale pieces, decided to reflect this idea, choosing themes such as the natural world, dwellings, migration and urban landscapes to guide her selection of works. “Encounters” features 20 works by artists from 14 countries, primarily from Asia and Oceania. Exhibitors had less than 48 hours to install the works—in Basel, they have four weeks, Glass-Kantor says. The executive director of Artspace in Sydney, she has arranged the works across the four “meridians” or boulevards of the fair’s two floors, placing them “where visitors can recalibrate themselves” in relation to the fair, she says.
Vibrating olive trees by the British artist Siobhán Hapaska (E1; Kerlin Gallery, 3C19), totemic trunks by the Chinese artist Wang Keping (E3; 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, 1D38) and rubber imprints of Southeast Asian leaders by the Malaysian artist Shooshie Sulaiman (E2; Tomio Koyama Gallery, 1D25) feature in level one of the fair, as does a dropped chandelier by the US artist Carlos Rolón/Dzine (E6; Leeahn Gallery, 1C29), which presents an “off-kilter domesticity”, Glass-Kantor says. Up on level three, the Indonesian artist Eko Nugroho presents a new work, Lot Lost (E11; Arndt, 3C30). The installation, a series of bronzes and suspended tapestries, “comes from Eko’s experience from the streets of Indonesia, appropriating street art and graffiti”, Glass-Kantor says. Another highlight is Wood Block, 2013-14, by the Chinese artist Zhao Zhao (E16; Osage Gallery, 3C39), who has repurposed 100 wood blocks from a defunct Italian furniture manufacturer in Shanghai. Many of the works are suspended from the ceiling or are freestanding. “I wanted to create a space where the viewer will pause to look up, look down, turn around and move outside the usual sphere of strolling,” Glass-Kantor says. —Julia Michalska