Art Basel Commissions Public Art Project in Basel, Presented by Creative Time

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Basel’s Messeplatz will host a series of projects organised by Creative Time ©Art Basel

BASEL—Conceived by artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Santiago Cirugeda-led architecture studio Recetas Urbanas, ‘Basilea’ encourages reflection on a city’s possibilities through a series of immersive projects connecting the city of Basel, its residents and the over 90,000 visitors who attend Art Basel annually. A Creative Time project commissioned by Art Basel, ‘Basilea’ will open to the public on May 23, 2018, culminating the week of Art Basel. The project marks Creative Time’s first international public commission and the first collaboration between the artists. Art Basel, whose Lead Partner is UBS, will take place at Messe Basel from June 14 to June 17, 2018.

‘Basilea’ is Elvira Dyangani Ose’s first project as Senior Curator at Creative Time. The project aims to create awareness of the capacity we, as citizens, have to alter and re-appropriate an urban environment, at both individual and collective levels. It will encourage discussions about the self-governance and the use and ownership of public space. The project includes a collectively built structure, a large-scale installation, a series of workshops, events and hosted occasions.

In the three weeks preceding Art Basel, Recetas Urbanas, led by architect Santiago Cirugeda, will work with local and international volunteers to design and build a multi-purpose civic structure, from locally sourced and second-hand materials. Participants will be invited to learn from and teach each other in a collective exchange and collaborative experience. During its construction and upon completion, the civic structure will be open to the public and activated by programs and performances. Following the closing of the 2018 edition of Art Basel, the structure will be relocated and given to one of the local organizations that participated in its construction, extending the significance and utility of the project long after the show concludes.

During the week of the fair, Lara Almarcegui will orchestrate a large-scale installation of gravel deposits from an active quarry that will surround the civic structure. Growing daily in increments equivalent to the gravel extracted from a Basel quarry each day, the work serves as an invitation to reflect on the consequences of our extractive relationship to the land. In conjunction, Almarcegui will create a map of Basel’s abandoned quarries, connecting these wastelands now awaiting a new function.

Isabel Lewis has conceived a series of workshops and occasions engaging the public through new modes of participation, inviting us to rethink notions of self and community. The work facilitates spaces for experimentation and play, where members of the public determine their own trajectories and level of engagement. The public workshops will take place on the Messeplatz in tandem with Recetas Urbanas’ building process, and continue through the week of the fair. What evolves from these workshops will form the foundation of a large-scale public choreography that highlights centuries-old, living traditions specific to Basel and generate encounters between historical practices and contemporary forms of bodily engagement.

‘Basilea’ is a Creative Time project commissioned by Art Basel and will be on display on Messeplatz from May 23 to June 17, 2018.

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