Aleksandra Bzdzikot




Art Basel 2017. My personal impressions.

Art Basel is a place where notable art galleries and contemporary artists of our times meet to evoke emotion and spark conversation. 


This year Art Basel took place on 14-18 June 2017 at Messeplatz with astonishing modern architecture of the exhibition halls created by Herzog & de Meuron. The Swiss architects have also created modern architectural pearls like Elbphilharmonie HafenCity in Hamburg or Prada Store in Tokio.



As an artist and art lover, naturally, I couldn't miss the opportunity to be there and check what other artists are doing and how this amazing art marketplace functions. I had a breadth of works to discover including paintings, sculpture, installations, video and digital art.


The fairs were opened to the public on Thursday 15th, although the VIP collectors and leading dealers had three days before to make sales before the official opening of the show. If you are wondering what amounts we talk about, it's worth to mention that Hauser & Wirth Gallery declared Tuesday as the most successful fisrt day ever at Art Basel, having placed a 1970 oil by Philip Guston for 15m USD, among a dozen of early sales. 

I think almost every visitor to Art Basel wonders how artwork prices are calculated and what such a calculation is based on. The sale prices were varied and depended on the position of the artist and his name, as well as the gallery who represents him. Personally, I saw artworks starting from 2 000 USD and reaching up to 350 000 USD or even more. 


Actually, I have visited the fairs twice on two days. First time I wanted to catch the art atyles and ideas on painting, which is my preferred category of artworks. The second day I wanted to see installations, digital art and sculptures, which was very fascinating and sometimes shocking as well. 


Are you ready to take a look at my personal 'surprise moments' and things, which I liked? 

Let's start then. 




I am pretty sure many of you know Joan Miro as an artist whose artworks can be labelled as surreal or even abstract. Miro was inspired by art movements such as surrealism, dadaism and cubism. I clearly remembered his recognisable painting style. What a surprise was for me when I saw a classical landscape painted by Miro at Art Basel. Somehow, I have not assumed that he painted something else than geometrical or surreal flattened objects and figures. 


Here you can see his landscape 'Tuilerie a Mont-roig', oil on canvas, painted in 1918.

This painting was sold at Christie's for a price around 8 500 000 USD. Impressive.




This Germanan artist made an interesting installation called 'Grammatik VII' with 8 painted and lettered motorized propellers. As outside of the exhibition hall it was quite hot and sunny I thought instantly that such an artwork would be perfect to install in an office or home.

Creative and useful.




I was so happy to see Chagall's paintings, because I have been a fan of his painting ever since. I like his style, which transports me into a dream world of poesy and color. Chagall was a painter who combined real and dream worlds into richly colored fantasies where people fly and animals cavort. 


He was a Jew coming from Belarus and the one of very few whose artoworks were shown at the Louvre during his lifetime. His story inspired me, as it proves that you can make it regardless of what country or background you come from.

Chagall's painitng insfluenced my perception of color, whcih resulted in the colorful landscapes I create. I'm so grateful to be inspired by such a master. 


Below you can see his painitng 'Les amoureux en rouge' from 1952.

The lovers on the painting culd be Chagall himself and his wife Valentina Brodsky - their marriage lasted 33 years, until Chagall's death in 1985.




Frankly speaking, this painting shocked me the moment I saw it. why? First of all, it is a completely non-standard painting. I'm talking here not about the fact that it is a paint on photograph on canvas. Although that's pretty interesting as well. When you look at it, you see the main surface of the canvas is one-colored, whereas you are able to see something on the sides of the canvas - a part of a building called 'Duomo' (the cathedral).


Ger van Elk, in my opinion, made a shift in a traditional way of perceiving art. Usually, when you have a canvas you paint on it, so that the main shapes or figures are in the central location - the surface of the canvas. Here, the surface is empty - although it has a brownish color, which, by the way, is called 'sienna' on the list of Pantone colors. 

The artist has used the sides of the canvas, which usually are left empty or colored monochromatically. On the sides we see a photograph of Duomo, the one, which probably is in Siena, Italy. This is the art play of Ger van Elk - Siena as a city and sienna as a color. A very interesting play of words and artistic concept. 



Above you have seen the most interesting things at Art Basel that I wanted to share with you. Of course, there is so much more and I could write about art for hours. It's fascinating how artists mix art and philosophy or clever ideas with a useful result.


I must say I am not a huge lover of abstract art, but there was one painting which caught my attention. I love the energetic splash of colors and the way it creates some forms on a white background. It's very vibrant and alive.



Those of you who have visited Art Basel - I hope you had fun and that you were able to uncover some thought-provoking art pieces for yourself. 

Hope my insight into Art Basel 2017 was interesting for you to read!



If you'd like to see my short comment on Art Basel 2017 in a local TV TELEBASEL please check the link below (starts 2:40 min.):









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