Art Basel in Basel 2022: Seven Sublime Booths
Art Basel's return to Switzerland has exceeded expectations with Ocula Advisors describing great energy and a truly international gathering of high-calibre collectors. We asked seven galleries—Buchmann, Cardi, Eigen + Art, Kate MacGarry, Kerlin, Marian Goodman, and ShanghART—to share what they're showing to meet the moment.
Marian Goodman Gallery, Art Basel in Basel (16–19 June 2022). Courtesy Ocula. Photo: Charlie Hui.
Junette Teng, Partner, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York
Marian Goodman Gallery has participated in Art Basel Switzerland since its inception, and this year we're showing the full breadth of our program. We have works in the booth by the gallery's first artist, Marcel Broodthaers, alongside the newest addition to the programme, Tavares Strachan.
We are presenting one of the largest works at the fair: an 11-metre Gerhard Richter STRIP painting from 2013, which is part of a series of works where Richter brings painting into the digital world.
We are also exhibiting a new abstract painting by Julie Mehretu inspired, in part, by international concerns including migration, revolution, social justice, climate change, and the impact and repercussions of the global pandemic.
Nicolo Cardi, Director of Cardi Gallery, Milan
We have an enormous Jannis Kounellis at the booth—it's impossible to miss it! Standing at 400 x 220 cm and over 1,300 kg, Untitled (1998) by Kounellis is a monumental example of the Arte Povera artist's wall reliefs, capturing the fascination with everyday materials that had fuelled his practice since the 1960s.
A large I-beam is mounted horizontally on four patinated cast-iron panels. Tightly packed rolled lead strips fill the empty volume of the I-beam. Dark, with the occasional appearance of red and yellow, these rolled lead and fabric constructions resemble blooming flowerbeds, felt flowers developing in hypnotic spirals arresting the viewers' gaze. A poetic take on industrial materials.
Another favourite is Lucio Fontana's Concetto Spaziale: [teatrino] 65 te 4 (1965). Surrounding a bitonal canvas punctured with a diagonal constellation of signature buchi ('holes'), a tree-like form extends from the frame's lower edge. Exceptionally, the canvas's upper half is painted off-white, while the lower is left raw, something the artist particularly loved.
Lorenz Helbling, Founder of ShanghART, Shanghai
We wanted to create a calm and sober space for reflection, a human space, with our booth at Art Basel. It's a very simple layout and hanging of just two artists, Zhu Jia and Han Mengyun, that consists of nine paintings.
Zhu Jia's Steaming Kettle (2021) is a marvel of time travel with a surrealistic note. It features a barren interior, probably the artist's home in Beijing during the 1970s, a few pieces of furniture dating back to earlier times, an older man absorbed in a newspaper, and a younger man, (the artist today?) entering the space repeatedly.
Born in 1989, Han Mengyun grew up in a more cosmopolitan time and her work is influenced by many cultures. Rational, restrained and with a certain sense of design, the large triptych Purity and Danger, one of Han's word-based works, dominates the longest wall confronting the viewer in a harsh but friendly way.
Christian Ehrentraut, Senior Director at Galerie EIGEN + ART, Berlin
Brenner works through installations with a political and social motivation. Hamberg is famous for great sculptures in which she discusses the physical appearance of either humans or animals. And Ulrike Theusner is a young artist who makes paintings and works on paper with a wide range of techniques and materials including pastels, oils, monotypes, and lithographs.
Darragh Hogan, Director of Kerlin Gallery, Dublin
We are delighted to present a large work by Zhou Li. At six metres long it is the largest work we have ever shown at Basel, allowing the viewer to be enveloped by organic forms.
It's an exciting time to be presenting this painting, as the artist has two solo exhibitions in Europe in the next month: one opened at Château La Coste in Aix-en-Provence on 12 June and the other will open at Kerlin Gallery in Dublin on 2 July.
We're also delighted to present a remarkable hand-carved marble sculpture by Dorothy Cross. Emphasising tactility, it's a sculpture of a pillow and looks as pliable as one – bearing a depression in the centre as if it's been slept on. From this central imprint, the point of contact with the human body, an ear is carved into the stone.
Kat Lowe, Associate Director of Kate MacGarry, London
Goshka Macuga's new tapestry Who Gave Us a Sponge to Erase the Horizon? (2022) is the third in her series of 3D tapestries that respond to environmental and political issues. We're also showing a new sculpture by Francis Upritchard — a blue octopus that sits on a blue linoleum plinth.
Highlights of our booth also include two new prints by Helen Cammock that were part of her Art on the Underground commission in London last year. They were also included in her recent solo exhibition at Kestner Gesellschaft.
Meanwhile, Rana Begum's work No. 974 (2019-2020) is part of a series of works that she developed while in residence at the Istanbul Modern. She worked in a metal spinning workshop with resident craftspeople shaping materials such as copper, brass, and aluminium. to evoke Istanbul's skyline.
Erik Herkrath, Director of Buchmann Galerie, Berlin
Our process of assembling artists from different generations who are working in various mediums is very much a team effort to create a dialogue between the works. While artists are making new work for Art Basel they are aware of the other artists' works. The idea is to create a synergy within the gallery, not to simply put together a selection of disparate works.
Tony Cragg's new sculpture is made from a solid block of Portoro marble whose surface resembles a watercolour. This work marks the beginning of a new series by the artist using colourful stones. The work is seen in relation to Jason Martin's large vertical blue oil painting that evokes a landscape or seascape but which is pure abstraction. —[O]