By Janet Ekstract
ISTANBUL- Art Basel, the ultimate art fest in the world is uniquely eclectic in 2023 with a plethora of artists featuring statement artwork that speaks to the current global conundrums including artificial intelligence, the climate/water crisis, countering nationalism, migration. Some highlights include nature, ecology, queer perspectives and quantum physics. The 2023 edition of the top art show in the world is featuring 284 of the world’s top art galleries showcasing a fascinating conglomeration of diverse artwork ranging from digital, painting, sculpture, photography amid 76 large-scale installations and performances in Unlimited. The Kabinett sector also debuts at this edition of Basel to highlight distinct, curated exhibitions in the main booths. In addition, phenomenal art presentations are happening in Galleries, Feature, Statements and Edition sectors.
This year’s theme reflects on current trends in the contemporary world with a special emphasis on Africa. Original works include French-Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed’s burning boat which is an allegory on the tragic attempts by migrants to cross the Mediterranean Sea. Another artist who speaks to global challenges is Ghanaian Serge Attukwei who showcases the water shortage crisis in a gigantic installation entitled “Sea Never Dies.” He created a giant tapestry consisting of fragments of the yellow cooking oil containers found throughout Ghana that are reused to collect water.
An Art Basel Curator Giovanni Carmine told AFP: “Artists are the thermometer of what’s happening in the world.” Carmine added that the monumental art pieces offer “a mirror on the interests of artists and of the art market.” Art Basel also features works that deal with issues like the rapid growth of artificial intelligence. Other issues turned into art installations include racism in the U.S. from American artist Adam Pendleton while Croatian artist Tomo Savic-Gecan uses an algorithm that analyzes articles relating to Art Basel’s Art Market Report which shows how it affects locations, durations and the intensity of selected lights.
Carmine labels this year’s ambiance at Art Basel “a bit apocalyptic” but with “a touch of hope.” he said. He pointed out that African artists have a major role at the show this year. There is a triptych by Kenya’s Kaloki Nyamai and “The African Library” installation by the Nigerian-British artist Yinka Shonibare. Art Basel also shows annually in Miami, Hong Kong and Paris. Art Basel created by Swiss gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt originally aimed to attract a new niche of art buyers and collectors. The first Art Basel was an instant success with 16,000 attendees and it is now known as the place to be for serious art collectors.