Last week I flew to Basel, Switzerland for the 2014 Art Basel exposition; what an exciting experience! The atmosphere in the city, the people, the fashion, and the parties are all amazing but most impressive was the artistic experience. Leading galleries presenting leading artists makes one feel like they are in a museum.

What caught my attention and interest most were the “unlimited” and “14 rooms” expositions.

Unlimited” is Art Basel’s pioneering exhibition platform for projects that transcend the limitations of a classical art-show stand. The innovative work includes out-sized sculpture and paintings, video projections, large-scale installations, and live performances,” as described on the Art Basel website. To me, “Unlimited” is an ambitious and interesting project. Among the 78 artists that presented, the one that drew my attention was Haegue Yang with her big installation “Accommodating the Epic Dispersion­ — On Non-cathartic Volume of Dispersion.” I found it quite elegant, quiet, and relaxing. By simply having it hanging in front of me in the big space I was instantly overcome with a sense of comfort. Another impressive art work was displayed by Carsten Nicolai. He had both hypnotizing and intensive work that involved sounds, computers, space, and visuals. It was both impressive and in some way addictive. I could have spent hours in that room…

14 Rooms Pavilion

Curated by New York-based Gianni Jetzer, 14 Rooms was located around the corner from the “Unlimited” show. 14 rooms was designed by Herzog and De Meuron and it included a special space for live work by international artists such as Marina Abramović, Allora and Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas, Laura Lima, Bruce Nauman, and more.  The project’s curators, Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist invited international artists to each activate their own room, exploring the relationship between space, time, and physicality with artwork whose ‘material’ is the human being.

In order to relax from the overwhelming experience I chose to visit Gerhard Richter’s exhibition in Foundation Beyeler. The space, designed by Renzo Piano, was amazing! So much elegance and beautify in such a simple design.  The combination of the interior and exterior was magical in some ways; and what can we say about Richter that hasn’t already been said? The works hold their power by their quietness… 12 Panes (Row) (2013), the installation in the main gallery, stimulated the imagination: the presence of a massive, but ethereal, glass sculpture brings the exterior of the environment as if it were part of the interior.

To sum up, Art Basel should definitely be on every art lover’s “wish list”; once you go, you will want to make it a perennial destination. Book your trip today 🙂

carsten nicolai: unidisplay from designboom on Vimeo.