LISTE Art Basel celebrates 20 years

LISTE 2015 represents the grand finale of the gallery season before summer closure. It is the place to discover (the underexposed) emerging talent of tomorrow. A satellite to Art Basel, it used to be called “The Young Art Fair in Basel”, but it has since grown up and changed its name and so has the art on view. It celebrates its 20th anniversary this year. If you have any doubts about the significance of LISTE, you only need to look at the founding first committee (composed on now powerhouse galleries Peter Bläuer, Eva Presenhuber, Maureen Paley, Tim Neuger, Emi Fontana, Peter Kilchmann, Anne de Villepoix).

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Located in the historic Warteck building a former Swiss brewery, LISTE is practically a labyrinth requiring time to navigate. Inevitably during Basel someone will mention a LISTE gallery that you missed. The fairgoers move between stalwart supporters and newcomers. There were 13 new entries presenting this year including CLEARING with a stunning solo booth of Calvin Marcus. This site-specific installation inside a blacken gallery is named after the coordinates for the fair; but represent surrogate self-portraits of the artist as a young building. Glowing in neon purples and greens (his signature color) the installation is haunting and nuanced.

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Fairgoers move between stalwarts and new comers; there are 13 new entries presenting this year including CLEARING with a stunning solo booth of Calvin Marcus. This site-specific installation inside a blacken gallery is named after the coordinates for the fair; but represent surrogate self-portraits of the artist as a young building. Glowing in neon purples and greens (his signature color) the installation is haunting. The work looks slick in photos but in life it is much more structured.

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New comers to the fair this year have already made waves at many of the international fairs over the last 8 months, some are recognizable names: at the front entrance on the ground floor is the easy to find white-hot Essex Street gallery showing Chadwick Rantanen. While the venerable Lower East Side gallery Simone Subal is showing an installation collaboration between artists partners Anna K.E. and Florian Meisenberg.

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The basement has many surprises including the stunning booth of Project Native Informant showing DIS, GCC, Shanzhai Biennial. The later two had PS 1 MoMA shows while DIS, a central figure in the New Museum Triennial will curate the Berlin Biennale.

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On the ground floor Arcadia Missa carefully curates a show of three women artist all born in the 80’s with practices that inform and juxtapose each other. Jesse Darling’s work is a heartbreaking return to materialism, recalling Eva Hesse and other great materialists. Another great London gallery, Limoncello is worth finding on the ground floor.

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Above on the first floor Carlos/ Ishikawa, another young London gallery, is showing Korakrit Arunanondchai who will have a solo exhibition at the Palis de Tokyo this summer. One of the only African galleries on show, Blank Gallery from South Africa showed five new tapestries by Igshaan Adams which references Kufic square calligraphy. Tucked in a darkened room on the first floor is Antenna Space showing video and sculpture by Honglei Yu, full of “post-internet”Je ne sais quoi. Crevecoeur is showing the beautiful new evolution of Renaud Jerez sculptures that have evolved out of the work he showed in the New Museum triennial.

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Going up the green staircase in front to the second floor the first gallery to find is Dependance one of Brussels hottest spots. Mor Charpentier was showing a fantastic presentation of four artists including Carlos Motta the Colombian artist who shared the Future Generation Art Prize this year.

Carlos Motta.Thaumartugical withdrawals, material remains.mor charpentier

This third floor is packed with gems. Huber is showing a new series of Vector Weaves by Travess Smalley, they completely open up the field of painting.

Tomasz Kowalski, Untitled, 2014, acrylic on canvas, 100 x 85 cm

The final climb to the top is rewarding; at 47 Canal a dual booth of Stewart Uoo and Anicka Yi. “We are in the penthouse”joked galleriest Oliver Newton, both artists (along with eight other key artists in their program) they had given their first shows to. Marget Lee an artist herself and visionary founder of 47 Canal (partner of Newton) said “We make up the Korean trifecta” referring to herself, Uoo and Yi. Uoo’ work in on display at the ICA London, while Yi has simultaneously mounted the exhibition 6,070,430K of Digital Spit, List Visual Arts Center at MIT while having a massive acclaimed show at the Kunsthalle Basel. It would be impossible to miss Yi’s work while at Basel as everyone goes to the Kunsthalle at night to party and drink.

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And how best to finish off the day after perusing through the gallery booths? Take the advice from Takashi Murakami: get a cold beer, a bratwürst, and raise a toast to this new generation of artists.

Blank Gallery

LISTE 20

Justin Polera

Justin Polera is an art investment advisor, arts journalist and independent curator living and working in New York and Berlin. www.justinpolera.com

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