Once again, I found myself enjoying the smaller shows parallel to Art Basel, especially the Scope show in Karserne. The participants here were no big-shot galleries and artists. But it was still interesting to see David Middlebrook’s appropriation of Magritte and Duchamp, Ellen Urselmann’s cute blown glass objects, Ralf Kaspers’ cloud-swimming people, and Kyoeng Sub Yue’s super nice paper cut-out with uncanny details – just to name a few. Traditional paintings usually don’t get my attention easily. But Italian artist Troilo’s powerful image painted by fingers was truly impressive.
|David Middlebrook, Congress (front), Breath of Fresh Air (back)|
|Ellen Urselmann, No Title, 2009|
|Ellen Urselmann, No Title, 2011|
|Ralf Kaspers, Summerland III Tokyo, 2011|
|Kyoeng Sub Yue, Cut Out|
|Patrick Tschudi, Chinese Faith, 2012|
|Troilo, Untitled, 2012|
|Alexandre and John Gailla, No One Gets Hurt, 2012 (front), Chrysalide 12 (back)|
|Bome, Oni-Musume, 2009|
|Kathy Mueller-Moser, Friends|
|Idán Zareski, Big Foot, 2011|
Compared to Art Basel, I felt I saw more fresh ideas and new media here in Scope. MARCK’s video installations synthesized film and physical objects into a new art form. Anna Tas used lenticular printing techniques to create a cute 3D version of Magritte. Alessandro Brighetti demonstrated electromagnetic manipulation of oil-based ferrofluids on a dark skull. Kenji Sugiyama created fascinating mini universes within pasta boxes. This series of dioramas explored the notions of consumerism and voyeurism.
|MARCK, New Freedom (Bath II) Silver, 2011|
|MARCK, Mutterglück LEGO II, 2012|
|Anna Tas, Son of Man|
|Alessandro Brighetti, Schizophrenia|
|Kenji Sugiyama, Institute of Intimate Museums|
The most impressive was Claire Shegog’s Busby series. Inspired by Busby Berkeley’s films and choreographic work, Shegog painstakingly handmade thousands of miniature figures with matching costume and accessories, and arranged them in circular forms. The result was dazzling. Here we saw order and repetition, patterns created with attention to details in both design and craftsmanship.
|Claire Shegog, Busby series|
|Claire Shegog, Busby’s Chandelier, 2012|
|Claire Shegog, Busby’s Folly (left), Busby’s Showgirls (right), 2012|
At Scope, I also saw more critical concepts behind the artworks. Satch Hoyt’s award-winning installation was a podium made from art books both found and donated from around the world. Who has the right to speech? This piece served as a critique on the contemporary art world, commemorating those who are not yet enshrined in the “legitimate” history of art. Deborah Sengl’s graphic installation reminded us of the pretentiousness in our culture, which completely gave way to consumerism, as Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre revealed in their photographic work. Even the ¥€$ regime is facing crises and paper bank notes themselves could be dispensable. Political corruptions? Jiao Xingtao’s marble sculpture was a critique of Bo Xilai’s extravaganza in Dalian. (He built a huabiao – traditional ornamental column – in Dalian that was twice as big as the ones in Tian’anmen Square.) Maybe we are better off living through special pills of hugs and love, as Edie Nadelhaft suggested. Or we could stand up to things, like what Ruby Anemic put in a neon sign: No Guts No Glory.
|Satch Hoyt, Say It Loud: Recreating the Canon, 2012|
|Deborah Sengl, And Cut!, 2012|
|Yves Marchand & Romain Meffre, Gotham Theater, above and below. New York, NY, USA, 2009|
|Zevs, Liquidated Yes, 2011|
|Paul Rousso, Big Money|
|Edie Nadelhaft, Better Living Thru Chemistry, 2012|
|Edie Nadelhaft, Chill, 2012|
|Jiao Xingtao, White Marble, 2010|
|Ruby Anemic, No Guts No Glory, 2012|