A CONVERSATION BETWEEN OUR TWO REPORTERS ON THEIR WAY BACK FROM BASEL
Art Basel proves itself the most important art fair worldwide
A MARKETING EXHIBITION COLLECTORS,
ART DEALERS AND MUSEUMS WAIT FOR EAGERLY
TO ADD WORKS TO THEIR COLLECTIONS
Basel-Venice. Quite a long car journey. We are still stunned and excited after our three-day full immersion in the Art Fair, the Beyeler Foundation, the Kunsthalle and the Tinguely Museum. We cannot conceal our enthusiasm, but both of us are trying to impose some order on our thoughts and feelings. We start sharing our opinions.
Michele Ciolino: Dear Cesare, as every year, I started my visit to Art Basel from Unlimited: the museum installations of great galleries. I really enjoyed Sislej Xhafa’s works in which the Cuban Raul engaged with the public, Antony Gormley’s geometrical neon installation, Duane Hanson’s hyper-realistic paused works, the card tables Xu Zhen turned into mandalas and Akram Zaatari’s ironic The End of Love, which gathers 48 photographs portraying married couples.
Cesare Orler: I really liked the Lego-ruins of Andreas Angelidakis’s Post Ruins, Belu-Simion Fainaru’s kinetic fountain and Paul McCarthy’s virtual sex 2.0.
Michele Ciolino: I was so excited to meet Street Artist JR at the Perrotin Gallery, in front of the photographs of his Louvre installation, and you?
Cesare Orler: It was my first time at Art Basel and I must admit that I didn’t believe there would have been so many stands and museum works.
Michele Ciolino: Art Basel is the most important art fair worldwide, a marketing exhibition collectors, art dealers and museums wait for eagerly as a chance to expand their collections.
Cesare Orler: I’ve seen a lot of modern art, but a little contemporary art. I thought there would have been more works by emerging artists.
Michele Ciolino: In times of crisis, even great collectors need certainties and gallerists prefer already established artists with a strong presence on the market.
Cesare Orler: I didn’t see much interest in Italian trends such as Pop Art, Optical Art and the return of the figurative (apart from Morandi).
Michele Ciolino: You’re right. The international art market is still dominated by 20th-century American artists (Pop, Action Painting, Minimal Art and Conceptual Art) and, over the last few years, also by authors from culturally developing countries such as Africa, China and India (El Anatsui, Ai Weiwei, Anish Kapoor).
Cesare Orler: Even de Chirico was missing, whereas at the Bologna Art Fair he was a smash hit. The Italian artists who always succeed in attracting the attention of collectors from abroad are Boetti, Kounellis, Melotti, Penone, Arte Povera in general and the Fontana-Burri-Manzoni wonder trio.
THE PRESENT INTERNATIONAL ART MARKET
IS DOMINATED BY 20TH-CENTURY US ARTISTS
AND AUTHORS FROM THE DEVELOPING COUNTRIES
Michele Ciolino: And that’s not all. One shouldn’t forget about the Beyeler Foundation, the Kunsthalle, the Kunstmuseum and the Tinguely Museum, not only because of the exhibitions they host, but also because they are extraordinary buildings that were designed by great artists. My Oscar goes to Rebecca Horn, at the Tinguely Museum. I love her poetic works, her flying suitcases, her love thermometers and her dancing shoes, which converse with the Swiss maestro’s useless machines, revealing deep spirituality and a sensitive soul that aspires to the sublime.
Cesare Orler: I was also captivated by Rudolf Stingel’s solo show at the Beyeler Foundation. His orange carpet doesn’t disdain caresses, his painted tapestries deceive the eye and the silver one doesn’t allow you to go away without revealing yourself, reflecting your image without filters: I’ve engraved my name there.
Michele Ciolino: I carved a heart and – following Jan Fabre’s teachings – also these cathartic words: W l’arte, W l’arte, W l’arte [“long live art”].
Michele Ciolino, Cesare Orler