The very best of Art Basel

Ten of our favourite new discoveries from the Swiss art fair this month

Ed Atkins Even Pricks
Ed Atkins, still from 'Even Pricks'

Basel is arguably no place for artists who are often miserable in the face of the sheer consumption taking place over the week-long fair (the biggest in the world). Yet if you want to throw your clothes in a Basel bag and float down the Rhine and check out some shows and stands it can be fun. Here's ten of this year's best pieces at Basel and the satellite fair Liste.

MELVIN MOTI THE EIGHTFIELD DOT AT UNLIMITED

This incredible film work was a real discovery at Basel. Moti tapped into the counter culture with a film combining op-art sacred geometry animations and slowly spinning images of natural crystals to explore ideas around the fourth dimension.

Melvin Moti The Eightfold Dot

MATH BASS AT OVERDUIN & CO AT LISTE

This girl's work is so good in reproduction it was a delight to discover these flat works on canvas are even better in life. Bass applies opaque layers of paint to form graphic faces and animal-like forms that combine humour with a dose of maths.

Math Bass Basel
contemporaryartdaily.com

ED ATKINS AT CABINET GALLERY AT ART BASEL

Ed Atkins is always a highlight in any show (as his current Serpentine exhibition proves). Cabinet had a large number of his new text and drawing pieces as well as a video work of a decapitated head rolling down stairs like a bloody bouncy ball.

Ed Atkins Even Pricks
Ed Atkins, still from 'Even Pricks'

DES HUGHES AT ANCIENT AND MODERN AT LISTE

Hughes has made a huge leap in his approach to sculpture, installation and medium in his new work. Think altar like wunderkammer filled with scrawled paintings, odd clay parts and thick black apple size jack'o' lanterns – like the pages of a perfect scrapbook come to life.

Des Hughes at Ancient & Modern
Des Hughes, 'No' (2014)

ALEX HUBBARD HIT WAVE AT MACCARONE AT UNLIMITED

Hubbard's fascination with process got a worthy outing at Unlimited, with a film he made a couple of years ago. It depicts layers of detracted imagery, sound and imagery of the artist piling on materials. Hopefully he'll keep with the medium alongside his giant paintings and bar installations.

Alex Hubbard Hit Wave still
Alex Hubbard, still from 'Hit Wave'

GERHARD RICHTER BAADER-MEINHOF PAINTINGS AT FONDATION BEYELER

The hyper blast bigness of Richter feels very appropriate for Basel. The show overall was a bit bland but the room of Baader-Meinhof paintings – including images of dead men recalling Manet, Goya and the deposition of Christ – made up for it. From the days when politics in art felt vital. 

Gerhard Richter Baader Meinhof
gerhard-richter.com

READ THE ROOM/YOU'VE GOT TO AT SALTS

The London-based art poetry crowd were in full representation at Basel. After a 5 pm performance reading at the fair itself, this show was an intimate group of text pieces curated by Quinn Latimer from artists like Dazed contributor Harry Burke, John Kelsey, Megan Rooney and Sue Tompkins.

SALTS_ThePrintedRoom_readtheroom_flyer

JON RAFMAN AT BALICE HERTLING AT LISTE

This video piece by Rafman pointed to good new directions. It depicted people floating amongst waves in a beyond densely populated sea. The screen the film was shown on was itself painted wih murky black paint, the people swaying between the blackness like birds in an oil spill.

jonrafman
we-find-wilderness.com

YOKO ONO AT 14 ROOMS

14 Rooms was a hallway with closed mirrored silver doors like the hall in Alice in Wonderland. Behind each was an artwork, including works by artists like Jordan Wolfson. The best was Ono's recreative touch piece, where viewers moved in pitch blackness and felt their way in and out of the space.

Yoko Ono Touch Poem 1963
Yoko Ono 'Touch Poem', 1963

WALEAD BESHTY AT THOMAS DANE AT ART BASEL

Beshty's new works were amalgams of smashed, glazed ceramics, created on a residency in Mexico, depicting other artists' projects and political figures. It was a great new manifestation of the artists interest in transmission and transport.

Walead Beshty
Walead Beshty, 'La Belicosidad' (2013)

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