“Art Basel 2017”

Wolfgang Tillmans, at the frontiers of the visible

As one exhibition concludes, another opens… While the solo show dedicated to German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans is finishing at the Tate in London, the retrospective on him at the Fondation Beyeler is starting up in the Swiss city of Basel. Perfect timing for a closer look at this artist whose experimentations have taken him far and wide… Contemporary photography – unfortunately – doesn’t always have many superstars to boast about. Even if the medium has achieved recognition in the last decade, its ecosystem still remains closed: it has its own dedicated galleries, themed auction sales, mono-medium fairs, specialised journals… In this respect, Germany’s Wolfgang Tillmans emerges as something of a phenomenon. Earning steady recognition from institutions and art critics from a very early stage in his career, he is already counted amongst the most fashionable photographers… And yet we can sense that this artist still has more tricks up his sleeve. Born in 1968 in Remscheid in West Germany (near Cologne and Düsseldorf, and therefore also near Europe-focused Belgium and the Netherlands), he discovered the photography of Polke, Richter and Rauschenberg while he was still a teenager in the museums of big neighbouring cities. After three years in Hamburg, Tillmans continued his studies at the Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design in South England. He then moved to London before staying in New York for one year in 1994. This is where he met gallerist Andrea Rosen, who would be the first to support him, as well as his lover, painter Jochen Klein. The two Germans would return to Europe where they lived together in the British capital until the death, in 1997, of Klein, a victim of AIDS. Tillmans was not yet 30 at the time. In 2000, the artist suddenly emerged from obscurity by becoming...

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In Julian Schnabel’s studio

An hour with Julian Schnabel, who shares with Art Media Agency reflections on the ground he has covered, the Plate Paintings series, surface and matter, film, sun and shade… An encounter in Manhattan. Born in 1951 in New York, the city where he continues to live, Julian Schnabel has maintained a reputation as an undisciplined artist. Winning the attention of critics early on while refusing to be pinned down by any particular style, he also became known to the public in 1996 thanks to his film Basquiat. Ever since, he has continued to paint, sculpt and make feature films when he’s not surfing near his villa in Montauk. And let’s not forget: Julian Schnabel is also an interior architect… It was incidentally in his Venetian palace in the West Village, New York, that he received us – at the heart of the Palazzo Chupi, in which the artist has based his studio and apartment, with a view of the Hudson…   At the very start of your career in the 1970s, did you feel close to European movements such as the Italian Transavanguardia? In terms of style, we get this impression, but did you know the artists that made up the movement such as Francesco Clemente, Sandro Chia, Enzo Cucchi or Mimmo Paladino? In 1982, when Harald Szeemann curated the “Settore Arti Visive” exhibition in which I took part at the Venice Biennale, Francesco Clemente was one of the artists. I then saw him again when Jean-Christophe Ammann showed us in Basel, along with Enzo Cucchi and Sandro Chia, and we started to keep up with one another. I particularly liked the work of Clemente, especially from that period, and we then became friends, but before this encounter, I didn’t know who these artists were.   This was also...

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Art Basel or shock aesthetics

An ardently arty atmosphere that anticipates the arrival of 100,000 art enthusiasts… Basel – the place to be in June, the fair where the art elite show their stuff. The spot where a mere trend can, in just a few hours, go viral. Welcome backstage at the world’s biggest contemporary-art supermarket.   It’s difficult to find anything that tops it in the art world… Let’s just say that Art Basel is like a VIP lounge where elegance reaches its peak. Everything smacks of luxury, from the Ruinart champagne to the chic dress code. In short, an ideal world that oscillates between the post-conceptual and the neo-Platonician. This is utopia, Swiss-style. And a megafair that is like no other. Because it’s the biggest and the best. To get a picture of this 48th edition, just imagine a penthouse with full view of the ocean of the avant-garde! It’s therefore in Switzerland that this planetary fest of the ultra-contemporary, in the oh-so Calvinist city of Basel, where – according to a certain Max Weber – Protestant ethics first started flirting with the spirit of capitalism. And since nothing happens by chance, it’s in the same city (whose symbol is a bishop’s crozier) that you’ll get a big shock: a large-scale service of worship drawing 291 state-of-the-art galleries from 34 countries and six continents. From aesthetic bliss to irritation, from works that will get under your skin to those that will make your hair stand on end, you’re going to love it. As mentioned in the press kit – that doesn’t hold back on superlatives – all of the art elite from across the globe will be converging in Switzerland for four days of jubilation. A geotropism that, season after season, assembles smooth dealers and moneyed collectors, crotchety curators and all kinds...

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