Two site-specific interventions will take over Messeplatz as part of Art Basel’s 2021 show in Basel. The public projects were conceived by artists in collaboration with two of the fair’s curators: Monster Chetwynd developed a large-scale installation and performance with Giovanni Carmine, curator of the Unlimited sector, and Cecilia Bengolea worked with Samuel Leuenberger, curator of the Parcours sector, to create a video installation and performance for the square’s fountain.
Chetwynd’s sculptural installation and performance, TEARS (2021), was inspired by Salvador Dalí’s jewel in form of a crying eye and can be seen as a continuation of her practice, which often involves performative works, various media, and oftentimes viewers themselves. On Messeplatz, Chetwynd will transform Dalí’sprecious object into a disrupted sculptural space, where so-called ‘Zorbs’ will roll around. Performers inside these giant transparent balloons will initiate the movements, following the artist’s choreography to create a scene of drops dancing. Periodically, two dancers in glamourous costumes will perform a scintillating sequence among the Zorbs. The project will create a moment of celebratory poetic absurdity in front of the entrance to the fair – a humorous but empathic comment on the historical moment in which we are currently living.
Also using dance as a tool and medium for empathy and emotional exchange, Bengolea has developed a series of videos and collages as well as a performance for Messeplatz. The artist sees performance as animated sculpture, where she herself is both object and subject in her own work, and her compositions are often formed around ideas of the body – both individually and collectively – as a medium. Her video- and collage-based installation will float in Messeplatz’s fountain throughout the week of the fair, while Bengolea and her long-time collaborators, Katrin Wow, Craig Black Eagle, and Damio BG, will activate the space through dance and (scripted) conversations on three scheduled occasions. During these hour-long performances, other dancers and the audience will be invited to engage and move together.
Although Chetwynd and Bengolea developed their projects independently, they will unfold in dialog, generating a stimulating atmosphere and place for public engagement in front of the halls of the show.
Monster Chetwynd's performance will take place daily from Tuesday, September 21 through Sunday, September 26, 2021, starting at the top of every hour between 11am and 5pm. The performance's duration is approximately 20 minutes.
Cecilia Bengolea's performance will take place on Tuesday, September 21, Wednesday, September 22, and Friday, September 24 between 6 and 7pm.