Playing a key role in nurturing artists and promoting the development of visual art, Art Basel has been showcasing the world’s premiere modern and contemporary art shows in Miami Beach and Hong Kong since 1970.
Among the artists whose work was showcased this year, Hubert le Gall’s exquisite sculptures in Muran glass and wood couldn’t skip our radar. These beautifully hand sculpted bottles, created for champagne house Ruinart, represent a novelty for the artist, who decided to step outside of his comfort zone and experiment with new materials and techniques. Le Gall is mostly known for his award winning furniture, often inspired by nature and animals but for the Murano sculptures he took a peek into the field of abstraction and poetry as each one of them represents a month on the year and the temporal nature of champagne making. The work also explored the relationship between men and nature and our capacity to manipulate it according to our will.
“It’s important to have ideas that no one has ever had”, le Gall states, “because often, ideas are just variations of things that have already been seen.”
For the second time around the exhibition presented a series of large scale works selected by a guest curator. Andre’ Balzas focused on the themes of prefabrication and demoing ability, calling the exhibition ‘Design at Large’, which couldn’t have been more appropriate as what all these massive installations have in common is the fact that they wouldn’t fit within traditional fair booths. The collection of seven pieces, which aims to create a conversation around sustainable design and luxury, includes Jean Prouve’s Total Filling Satisfaction, commissioned by gas company Total in 1969. The collection also included Shigeru Ban’s Paper Tea House and Edouard Francois’s Flowerhouse. The fine dichotomy between conceptual design and functionality is the focus of Balzas’ selection which, according to the curator, was meant to illustrate some of the biggest contradictions facing design today.