«14 Rooms» is a live-art performance, unique and parallel to Art Basel, in the bespoke architectural space created by Herzog & de Meuron in Messe Hall 3.
By Shirley L. Kearney
You feel an Alice in Wonderland aura as you enter the large empty space off which are 14 enclosed rooms, 13 of which are behind a mirrored door (one is behind a glass door) lining both sides of the hall. Additionally, there is an epilogue by Jordan Wolfson (reservations necessary) and an archival documentation by John Baldessari.
The 14 contributing artists have created human installations. You are plunged into close proximity to the performers, who have been instructed by the artists on how to carry out the requirements, and you bend, touch, watch, participate, listen or wait. Some encounters are more intimate and challenging than others, but it is a one-time-live museum experience. Director of Art Basel Marc Spiegler says: “We have always tried to create a platform for what was essential at that moment, and performance has become more and more important.” He adds that 14 Rooms is only going to happen once. It is curated by Klaus Biesenbach, Director of the Museum of Modern Art PS1, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, London, and in collaboration with the Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and the Theatre Basel.
Ed Atkins, Yoko Ono, Bruce Nauman, Jennifer Allora and Santiago Sierra are amongst the 14 internationally celebrated artists; the full list is available at the Hall or online.
Three examples are:
Room 4 by Damien Hirst: Holly, Gretel changes its title depending on the names of the participating twins.
Room 11 by Joan Jonas: Mirror Check could be considered a selfie but in a piecemeal fashion as the performer minutely examines her body using a small hand mirror.
Room 12 by Marina Abramovic: Luminosity is reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”. A nude woman is standing in front of a large white board with her arms extended, while a narrow bicycle seat affixed to the board seems to keep her in place.
Open all doors and follow your flow.
The exhibition remains until Sunday, June 22.
Further information: www.14rooms.net