The 2021 edition of Art Basel
will feature 272 leading galleries from across the globe presenting the highest quality of works across all media, from rare and historical masterpieces to new works by todays emerging artistic voices. In addition to showcasing exceptional art within its Galleries, Features, Statements, and Edition sectors, the fair will also present 62 large-scale artworks in Unlimited; 20 site-specific projects as part of Parcours; two performative interventions by artists Monster Chetwynd and Cecilia Bengolea; an ambitious Film program; as well as the fair's renowned talks series, Conversations.
'The scale and ambition of this year's Unlimited and Parcours are testament to the dedication of our participating galleries,' said Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel. 'They are boldly presenting complex projects, many conceived before the pandemic, which now take on new meaning.'
Unlimited, Art Basel's unique platform for large-scale projects, provides galleries the opportunity to showcase expansive installations, monumental sculptures, vast wall paintings, extensive photographic series, and video projections that transcend the traditional art fair stand. Taking place once again in Hall 1, Unlimited will be curated for the first time by Giovanni Carmine, Director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. Highlights include:
Carl Andre's sculpture 'Mastaba' (1978) presented by Konrad Fischer Galerie;
Robert Rauschenberg's large-format painting 'Rollings (Salvage)' (1984) presented by Thaddaeus Ropac;
Urs Fischer's installation 'Untitled (Bread House)' (2004-2006) presented by Jeffrey Deitch;
Lebanese artist Etel Adnan's large-scale drawing 'Le Soleil Toujours' (2020) presented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery;
Guyanese artist Frank Bowling's painting 'Samson's Circle with Lila's dress made in Africa of imported Chinese fabric: and the rest' (2019) presented by Hauser & Wirth;
'After Russell Lee: 1-60' (2016), a photographic series by Sherrie Levine presented by David Zwirner;
Carrie Mae Weems's 'Repeating the Obvious' (2019) presented by Jack Shainman Gallery and Galerie Barbara Thumm;
'Entrare nel linguaggio' (2019-2021), a textile installation by Marion Baruch, completed especially for Unlimited 2021; and
David Hockney's trompe-lʼil painting 'Pictures at an Exhibition' (2018/2021) presented by Gray and exhibited at Unlimited for the first time.
Giovanni Carmine said: 'The pandemic has amplified our need for direct engagement with the originalsʼ. Our encounters with art have intensified: our attention and lust for discussion is on the rise. In this context, Unlimited turns out to be the ideal stage to experience these feelings in a real space to relish in them, to reflect upon them.'
A limited-edition catalog, published by Hatje Cantz, will accompany Unlimited, including descriptive texts and images of each artwork. The catalog will be on sale at the show as well as in bookshops for CHF 60.
Parcours will return to the city of Basel, featuring 20 site-specific installations and performances throughout the city center. Once again curated by Samuel Leuenberger, founder of the non-profit exhibition space SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland, this year's Parcours will take place across civic and private spaces, as well as new venues, under the theme Can We Find Happiness Together Again?. Some of the many highlights include:
12 large-scale paintings and performances by Claudia Comte presented by Gladstone Gallery and König Galerie at the Stadtcasino, Basel;
An open-floor-based composition by Jason Dodge at the Kunstmuseum Basel presented by Galleria Franco Noero;
A public walk by Hamish Fulton titled Walking in Every Direction on Basel's Marktplatz presented by Galerie Tschudi;
Neopets, a large-scale sculpture by Bunny Rogers presented by Société;
Mudmen, a site-specific installation by Augustas Serapinas presented by Emalin; and
Sculptural installations by Pedro Wirz at the Kunsthalle Basel presented by Galerie Nagel Draxler.
Samuel Leuenberger said: 'Through a focus on care and congeniality, this edition aims to cultivate commonalities and allied thinking across the more invisible layers, ones of deep friendship and trust, where its participants as well as visitors can find their rightful joy in participating.'
As part of Art Basel Live, Art Basel's digital initiative amplifying its in-person shows to engage online audiences worldwide, Unlimited and Parcours presentations will be featured in dedicated Online Viewing Rooms specifically developed to give additional insight into these large-scale projects. Presentations will be contextualized with a curator audio guide.
Basels Messeplatz will feature two site-specific interventions selected by the fair's Unlimited and Parcours curators. Monster Chetwynd will develop a large-scale installation and performance curated by Giovanni Carmine, while Parcours curator Samuel Leuenberger will work with Cecilia Bengolea on a video installation and performance staged within the fountain of the Messeplatz. Developed independently, Bengolea and Chetwynd's projects will seek to engage fair visitors and the city's residents in an exciting and surprising dialogue.
Screened at Stadtkino Basel, the Film program will be curated for the first time by Lisbon-born writer and lecturer Filipa Ramos, Co-Founder and Curator of Vdrome. In addition, Marian Masone, New York-based film curator, has selected two outstanding film portraits of artists 'Beyond the Visible Hilma af Klint', directed by Halina Dryschka, and 'Bill Traylor: Chaising Ghosts', directed by Jeffrey Wolf which will be screened on Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25, 2021.
The Conversations program offers audiences access to first-hand information on the international art world and is programmed by Art Basel and the Berlin-based artist Julieta Aranda. The panels will take place in the auditorium in Hall 1.0 and feature a dynamic lineup of speakers, including:
Daniel Buren and Philippe Parreno, in conversation with Hans Ulrich Obrist, for the Artists Influencers panel; and
Philip Ursprung, Professor of History of Art and Architecture, ETH Zürich, in conversation with Catherine Nichols, Curator and Co-Chair of Beuys2021, for the 'Legacy of Beuys' panel.