Inside Art Basel’s Unlimited 2022

Curated by Giovanni Carmine, Director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, this year’s edition of Art Basel’s Unlimited exceeded all expectations and presented itself in the best possible light. Definitely a must-see on your Art Basel trip this week – with plenty of stunning works, monumental projects and interesting larger-than-life installations to discover.

Here are my strengths:

Since the 1990s, Florida-born, New York-based artist Leonardo Drew has been creating assemblage-based installations and sculptures in his distinctive abstract language that speaks to the cyclical nature of life. Using his extensive knowledge of materials, Drew ages wood through a process that makes it appear to have been found in a state of natural decay – inspired by structures and architecture. Number 341 continues this development by extending the wall installation on the ground plane, amplifying the dynamic composition and structure.

Formed from a sheet of aluminum and punctuated by two spherical objects painted in bright yellow automotive paint, the work combines intertwined undulating elements in a configuration reminiscent of the Baroque style. As part of the ongoing “Microworld” series, with these sculptures, Beijing-born and based artist Liu Wei depicts matter usually invisible to the naked eye on a monumental scale. The building blocks of a new world are rendered ambiguously, emphasizing the increasingly manipulated relationship between man and nature in the constant quest for technological progress.

RR Variations by Dutchman Jan Dibbets is a tribute to his friend and fellow artist Robert Ryman. Consisting of 40 colorful digital prints, the series is based on Ryman’s paintings found in Dibbets’ own collection.

Over the course of 12 canvas panels that make up “Weisses Bild”, each large enough to be a stand-alone painting, Luxembourg artist Majerus appropriates segments of his own 1993 painting “Katze” – another work of his representing a whimsical interior scene that draws on German comic culture. He also incorporated patterns found in Frank Stella’s universe and methodologies from Robert Roman.

American artist Jim Shaw’s installation comprises eight sections of a theatrical backdrop of a misty park on which Superman is depicted in moments of distress. While the superhero in peril is a well-known motif, Shaw never shows heroic escape: here, Superman is a mere mortal.

His invulnerability and limitless powers numb him, so he needs pain and death to feel anything. All poses include classic and pop cultural references.

Christopher S. Washington