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Art Basel 2013: Paint, Zippers and Partnering

Groundbreaking work across collage and mixed media at the world-renowned art show

by David Graver in Culture on 19 June 2013

With the history of art stretching back to the earliest stages of humanity, it can be difficult to enter unexplored frontiers. The following artists presented work at this year's Art Basel that, whether by means of innovation or refreshing clarity, delivered on the festival's promise of the world's best work. Mediums were mixed, thoughts were refined and never-before experiences were born.

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A character study, equal parts outer-space and undersea, Wangechi Mutu's "Second Born" (2013) crafts scene and character blended from 24-carat gold, collagraph, relief, digital printing, collage and hand-coloring. The feminine figure at its center engages and entices, all the while owning her strange, other-worldly identity. Mutu's piece was seen at the Pace Prints booth.

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Maxime Rossi dots the Hahnemühle paper backing "Père Lachiase" (2013) with bright pigments, linked together by drips and dribbles. The partnership between the organized musical notes and the droplet disarray allows this Galerie de Multiples piece to sing.

Donald Moffett's "Lot 042313 (second sacrifice)" (2013), shown by Anthony Meier Fine Arts, opens like a present. Incorporating acrylic paint, polyvinyl acetate with rayon and a steel zipper on linen and Duron, this "painting" holds its form across a wood stretcher. The angled striping of the piece's interior has carnival qualities and convey a "what's in that circus tent" emotion when contrasted with its monotone exterior.

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Layers constructed via reverse painting on glass, ink and anodized aluminum backing coalesce to form David Renggli's "I Love You (Strub Colour D.W.O.)" (2013) featured at Galerie Peter Kilchmann. Bright swipes of color counter splattering and splotches and the overall experience mixes chaos with structure—begetting a calm freedom.

Perhaps the most challenging endeavor of any artist is landing innovative simplicity. Gottfried Honegger's two color silk-screen, "blanc-vert" (2012-203), accomplishes this with precision. The piece, at Atelier-Editions Fanal, gracefully joins two relatives of a half-circle shape. Modern, crisp and direct, the 96-year-old artist's piece quietly wows.

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"Hotel Talabashi" (2013), Franz Ackermann's mixed media on paper and Alu-Dibond collage relishes in pure chaos—shown in detail above. A landscape at the core, photographs have been dressed up with cut-outs and scrawling lines, ultimately yielding a tennis-match-style viewing. Eyes weren't allowed to settle when taking in this piece at Meyer Riegger.

Photos by Alexandre Corda

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