14 Rooms and Art Basel: a collective performance across space, time and physicality


Contemporary Art

This year’s edition of Art Basel ended on June 22. For the modern art world, it is an unmissable event. And this year’s edition was even more so, thanks to the exhibit “14 Rooms”, by Hans-Ulrich Obrist. The famous Swiss curator—on another occasion I’ll discuss his series of interviews—organised a collective installation of fourteen artists who were asked to explore the relationship between space, time and physicality through a series of performances.

The artists who participated are at the forefront of the genre: among them Allora and Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Damien Hirst, Roman Ondák, and an old “acquaintance” of Fabrica, Marina Abramović. 

Marina came to visit us a few years ago to hold an unforgettable workshop, and I spoke to her about her new Museum of Performance. At “14 Rooms”, she presented Luminosity, where a performer sitting on a bicycle seat attached to a wall and flooded with light stimulated viewers to reflect upon the themes of loneliness and spiritual asceticism. Damien Hirst, on the other hand, re-presented his 1992 work entitled Hans, Georg, in which two twins sit in front of two identical paintings. While Swap, by Roman Ondak, asked the performer to sit at a table and choose an object. As visitors entered the room, the performer asked them to carry out an exchange. With what? With whatever they chose, with whatever they might have had in their pockets at the time, with anything they felt like. 

For those who don’t know this world, performance art can be hard to decipher. Yet in reality it’s all very simple: there is nothing to decipher. It’s pure emotion combined with whatever significance each of us gives it. The only requirement: to be receptive and open to the world.