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Art Basel 2013: The Changing Worlds of Sculpture

Six pieces that redefine the medium through humor, form and otherworldly sentiments

by David Graver in Culture on 21 June 2013

Transportive and transformative, the following six sculptural pieces found at this year's Art Basel push the boundaries of the medium and its definition within art. Chaotic, thoughtful and sometimes even funny, each work manages to bring a new world into our own.

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In a striking display, Jaume Plensa's "Lilliput" series (2012) suspended painted bronze and steel sculptures from the ceiling with thin, clear wire. Each ornate, almost human-form construct, appeared at times to float in air, while spinning slowly. This Galerie Lelong presentation masterfully matched sculptural aesthetics of the past with an entirely new energy.

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"The Last Wilderness for Patent Nr. PBR'RYN2008019" (2013) is a mixed media, miniature wonderland. Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger's cosmic garden plants organic elements into a dangling stone base. Seen at Buchmann Galerie, this sculpture is, and exists of, a world all its own.

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Esther Kläs' "0/6 (rumba)" (2013), presented by Peter Blum Gallery as part of the Unlimited Series, rests a suspended metal halo just above a ceramic bed that's dressed in thin swipes of colored paint. There is a serenity in its emptiness, and the halo complements the piece gracefully. The shape's lack of immediate association allows the mind to wonder.

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Can you call something lowbrow when it is covered in Swarovski crystals? Mari Kasurinen's "My Little Marie Antoinette" (2013) dresses a My Little Pony with mixed media elements and a Swarovski crystal bedazzled outfit. A toy at its core, Kasurinen manages to make a statement: art can be funny. This Galerie Gmurzynska piece carries humor to the forefront.

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Laleh Khorramian's "Space Farmer and Communication Shrine" (2013) houses glass, fluorescent light, amber, paper, wood, tin boxes, LED and three DVD minidisk players within a refrigerator. Imaginative and busy— but far from sloppy—this Third Line gallery presentation feels vibrant and otherworldly.

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"Transaction" (2013), Foksal Gallery Foundation's Pawel Althamer piece engages two human-robotic forms; one holding cash, the other bearing trinkets. Entirely uncertain of what the actual transaction is, the piece offers many routes for interpretation and ingestion. There is a futuristic eccentricity traveling along the metal and wire parts, lending to the work's overall eeriness.

Photographs by Alexandre Corda

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