Tag Archives: Basel Art Fair

Shoot # 15

Jim Shaw's monumental Jim Shaw’s monumental “Capitol Viscera Appliances” (2011) being watched by visitors at Art Basel 2014 © Jan Oberg 2015

Lund, Sweden – July 4, 2015

Hi!

Whether you are an old or new friend I welcome you to Oberg PhotoGraphics .

Shoot is a single photo, a digital gift – a moment of meditation – with which I wish you a good Sunday and weekbegin.

Now, I’m exploring what happens when we go to exhibitions. Above is a shot of spectators in front of Jim Shaw’s monumental “Capitol Viscera Appliances” (2011) – with nuclear explosion, technological products and the White House. It is af if they witness and photograph the end of the world…

I explore that in some sketch-like photos I’ve uploaded to my Pinterest place under the headline  “Pictures At An Exhibition” – follow if you like, there will be more. Visitors and gallery owners at Art Basel and the Biennale may find themselves there.

Can pictures of such art-ificial settings become art beyond documentation?

Great artists like Eric Fischl, Thomas Struth and David Hockney seem to say “Yes”.

All the earlier Shoot messages are now at my photo and other art blog. And lots from Art Basel on Instagram – let’s follow!

Finally, don’t miss the new GlobalArt Magazine which I curate. Welcome to follow it.

My best
Jan Oberg

PS Thanks for all encouraging comments to and sharing these “Shoots”.

Art Basel 2014 (4) – 14 Rooms

Imagine a large empty factory hall  in the middle of which you have a square room with doors into 14 smaller rooms…

The entrance to 14 rooms

The entrance to 14 rooms

You are of course curious about just what is happening behind these doors and there is a brochure explaining it in details. But still – you have to get in, be there…experience the mysteries that a closed door always evokes (and not the least when there is a guard who let’s you in one-by-one after having been waiting in a queue for some time).

“14 Rooms” has been created by Foundation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel, three very prominent cultural institutions in Basel and it is curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist. It is situated close to the main Art Basel Fair but independent of it and the one-day entrance ticket is CHF 18. 14 Rooms is about performance art.

Here are some examples of what you actually experience:

In Yoko Ono’s room you see nothing. The installation, or whatever you want to call it, is pitch dark and called “Touch Piece” which she created for the first time in 1963 and now here. You walk in a see nothing – also not when your eyes have adapted. In the brochure you are encouraged to touch whoever you bump into there and thereby challenge your sense of intimacy and privacy, as it’s expressed. The touches I experience were very avoiding – a little laughter perhaps, an “Oh, sorry” and no attempt to really touch, rather a confusing about meeting some stranger there in the dark and avoiding a touch.

As I had been in there a couple of minutes and carefully set one foot in front of the other I sensed not another human being but a wall. I followed it around to the entrance point and think that by then I was alone there.

I honestly can’t tell you what I felt or thought. It was merely a little fun, a little tickling and I liked to hear people’s laughter or nervous “Sorry” – remember, we are in Switzerland and everything is uptight even in an experimental setting like this. Perhaps there is something outdated in 2014 about an idea from 1963 and that at that time it was revolutionary and lead to more than avoidance? (No photo possible).

Otobong Nkanga’s “Diaspora” (2014) was more lively: two black women carry a Queen in the Night plant in a pot on their heads and sing, speak to the plant and, sometimes perhaps, to each other and the visitors. Much of the text is about loneliness and feeling to be outside , being picked at. And the floor is painted as a topographical map. (Photo possible – as all other visitors did it against the rules). Continue reading

Gemini G.E.L. – pionering print makers

For about 40 years I’ve followed the production of one of the world’s finest contemporary art printers – Gemini G.E. L. at Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. My father, F. W. Oberg (1913-1981) who founded gallery Ars Studeo in Aarhus and Copenhagen, Denmark, in the mid-1960s and was a keen long-time art collector bought many prints from Gemini G.E.L. – which means Graphic Editions Limited.

With six years only in school, he wasn’t good enough at writing English to artists, galleries and printers around the world; he asked me to work for him as his secretary and in that way I financed a large part of my studies. Continue reading