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The World's First Visual Arts Opera to be Presented at Art Basel
Olafur Eliasson, "Echo House", "Il Tempo del Postino" Manchester Theater Festival in 2007. Photo Joel Fildes.
BASEL.- One of the most spectacular events at this year’s Art Basel will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. The Independent called this unique show “The world's first visual arts opera” after its first and only
presentation at the Manchester International Festival in 2007. A group of the world’s leading visual artists created a major experimental presentation.

Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman time) is presenting a sequential display of time based art on the theatre stage. Each of the over fifteen artists is creating an act of different length. In Basel “Il Tempo del Postino” will be directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija.

In addition to the artists who participated in Manchester in 2007, Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija, “Il Tempo del Postino” in Basel will include a new contribution by Thomas Demand. The graphic design for Manchester was created by Peter Saville, for Basel it was created by Ludovic Balland.

By focusing on time-based work, this unique group show aims to redefine how the visual arts can be experienced. Set in a classic theater architecture, it transforms the established exhibition model into an exhilarating, shared audience experience. “Il Tempo del Postino” is organized by Art Basel, Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel and was originally co-commissioned by the Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris for the World Premiere in Manchester in July 2007.

After its first celebrated presentation, Richard Dorment of the Daily Telegraph wrote: “At the end of ‘Il Tempo del Postino’ I felt I’d been present at a historic occasion when the ambitions of the curators were perfectly matched by the quality of the art.” This elaborate and ambitious exhibition is now touring to Basel.

The question that was originally posed by the curators was: “What happens if having an exhibition is not a way to occupy space, but a way to occupy time?” For “Il Tempo del Postino” each artist creates their own piece, including the presentation of installations, and inviting performing artists, singers, actors, dancers and a full orchestra playing specially commissioned music. “Il Tempo del Postino” is delivered to the audience in its own presentation time, rather than the audience walking through it in their own time; the final production was created collaboratively with all participating artists feeding into the overall structure, assisted by a creative team of experienced theatre practitioners and technicians.

There will be three presentations of “Il Tempo del Postino”, on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, June 10 – 12, 2009 at 8.30 pm at Theater Basel.





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