Six highlights from Art Basel's 2018 Unlimited program

Introducing key works from the sector dedicated to expansive and immersive art

Art Basel has announced the 71 projects for Basel 2018’s Unlimited sector, curated again by Gianni Jetzer, curator-at-large for the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Presenting a wide range of works that go beyond the context of the stand, Unlimited is Basel’s platform for large-scale installations and sculptures, projected video works, live performances, and anything else that can’t be contained in the art fair booth. For 2018, the projects span the breadth of these media and formats, with new video works, performance works both new and old, and large-scale installations. Here, we focus on some highlights of the sector.

Martine Syms, 'Lessons I-CLXXX', 2014 ongoing. Courtesy: the artist and Sadie Coles HQ

L.A.-born Martine Syms’ video work Lessons I-CLXXX is made up of a number of chapters, which are shown in a randomly ordered stream. Mimicking the experience of flipping through channels on a TV, or switching through multiple browser tabs, each of these 30-second fragments is made up of disconnected, often found, footage that offers aphoristic meditations on the sensations of human existence, with the voices and experience of black Americans as a running thread. 

For Partitions (2002/18), Matthew Barney recreates an Art Deco Irish bar that features in the culmination of his epic 'CREMASTER' cycle of films, set in the Chrysler Building. Originally made of petroleum and refrigerated, it is cast in plastic for this iteration, along with the original refrigeration unit. It is shown alongside the 'Perfect Asher' suite of photographs, which show members of the cast of CREMASTER 3 in their ritual freemason aprons.

Lygia Pape, 'Ttéia 1, B', 2000/2018. Courtesy: the artist and Hauser & Wirth

'The work of Brazilian artist Lygia Pape, who died in 2004, is best synthesized in her 'Tteias', a title which Pape coined by merging the Portuguese words for 'web' and a colloquial term for a graceful person or thing. Originally conceived in 1979, the Tteias’ groups of shimmering threads intersect and weave through the exhibition space, suggesting, rather than imposing, volume and geometry, as well as a secret and immaterial magic. 

Camille Henrot, 'Saturday', 2017. Courtesy: the artist and König Galerie, kamel mennour and Metro Pictures

Presented in a room painted black, with purple walls, Camille Henrot’s latest film Saturday (2017) takes the evangelical Seventh-Day Adventist Church as its subject matter. The Christian denomination has sites in the USA, Polynesia, and the Kingdom of Tonga, all of which feature in the French artist’s work. These images, as well as airbrushed pictures of food, flowers, and medical testing, create hopeful visual landscape that runs counter to the often confusing, ticker-style text that runs underneath. 

Lee Ufan, 'Relatum (Iron Field)', 1969/1994/2018. Courtesy: the artist and Pace Gallery

With a strong theoretical underpinning to his work, Lee Ufan is best known as one of the most prominent artists of the Japanese avant-garde Mono-ha movement. His practice focuses on using raw, natural, and industrial elements, and in his sculpture Relatum, these are also at play. Conceptualised in 1969, the work, which will be installed personally by the artist, uses the earth as its base, with subtle steel wires reaching to a height of four feet.

Jon Rafman, 'Dream Journal 2016-2017', 2017. Courtesy: the artist and Sprüth Magers

Six vibrating loungers with sub-woofers surround a hanging screen in Jon Rafman’s Dream Journal 2016-2017. The projected, titular film takes a surrealist attitude to collective subconscious fantasies, its fractured storyline using deep web vernacular to follow two young heroines on a journey across dystopian hellscapes. This work continues Rafman’s interest in reflecting the contemporary psyche and the internet’s transformative effect on us.

Further artists participating in Unlimited include Yto BarradaDaniel Buren, Horia Damian, Jenny HolzerMark LeckeyInge MahnMichael RakowitzNedko SolakovBarthélémy ToguoYu Hong, and more.

Art Basel takes place in Basel from June 14 to June 17. For updates relating to the show, follow us on social media.