from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel’s unlimited 2024

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel’s unlimited 2024

large-scale installations at art basel unlimited 2024

 

The 2024 edition of Art Basel features a range of sectors, each with a unique focus, showcasing works from both established and emerging artists. Among its sectors, one that consistently stands out is Unlimited. For the fourth time, Giovanni Carmine, Director of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, is curating the exhibition which will present 70 monumental installations, colossal sculptures, wall paintings, comprehensive photo series, and expansive video projections.

 

As part of our visit to the 2024 art fair, we spotlight below some of the large-scale projects that caught our attention at Unlimited. From Yayoi Ksama’s dotted pumpkin sculpture, to Christo’s wrapped Volkwagen and Chiharu Shiota’s immersive red rope installation, explore all the projects below. 

from christo to yayoi kusame: the best of unlimited at art basel 2024
image © designboom

 

 

Christo’s Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon (1963-2014)

 

In February 1963, on the occasion of Christo’s solo exhibition at Galerie Schmela in Dusseldorf, Christo and Jeanne-Claude (find more here) wrapped a Volkswagen Beetle. The vehicle, used for the sculpture, was lent by Claus Harden, a colleague of German advertising guru and filmmaker Charles Wilp. Wrapped Car (Volkswagen), 1963, only existed for a short time as Harden requested that the car be returned to him in its unwrapped, original state. 

 

In 2013, regretting its loss, Christo decided to recreate the original work of art. After purchasing a mint-colored 1961 Volkswagen Beetle, thee identical model that he and Jeanne-Claude used over 50 years earlier, Christo removed the fluids from the vehicle and mounted it on casters. In 2014, Christo wrapped the car, creating Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon, now presented at Unlimited 2024 (find more here).

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel unlimited 2024
Christo, Wrapped 1961 Volkswagen Beetle Saloon, 1963–2014 | image courtesy of Gagosian

 

 

Mario Ceroli’s Progetto per la pace (1968)

 

Originally conceived by Mario Ceroli (find more here) in 1968, Progetto per la pace (1968) is among the artist’s largest and most powerful works of environmental sculpture. An expansive area of earth is covered wth towering silk flags, each one measuring four meters in height, creating a visually striking monument that comes alive in the exhibition space. The plain, colorless flags offer a vision of peace that moves beyond national borders or idioms. The work has been historically exhibited in different site-responsive configurations, both outdoors and institutional settings, inviting viewers into a rarefied space of openness, possibility, and dialogue. The result is an installation that is at once monumental and delicate, wavering between the peaceful assertion of the title and the underlying knowledge of human fallibility. 

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel unlimited 2024
Mario Ceroli, Progetto per la pace (1968) | image © designboom

 

 

Kader Attia’s Intifada: The Endless Rhizomes of Revolution (2016)

 

Kader Attia’s installation uses the letter ‘Y’ as a figure of branching and splitting, joining and holding together. The single epistemological figure grows into a rhizomatic structure of slingshots, reminiscent of young trees and Nature’s reproductive and branching agency. It also recalls the First Intifada in 1987 (also known as the Stone War), when Palestinian youths used such devices to throw stones at heavy weaponry. The work by Kader Attia (find more here) physically and aesthetically evokes the inherited nature of traumas that are passed down from one generation to the next, shaping the biographies of individuals – and thus the destiny of entire societies for centuries. It serves as a metaphor for the organic reappropriation of Nature’s resilience and resistance to the human species and for the endless agency of revolution through which oppressed societies have always emancipated themselves.

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel unlimited 2024
Kader Attia, Intifada: The Endless Rhizomes of Revolution (2016) | image © designboom

 

 

Martin Margiela’s Podium (2024)

 

From observation to reflection and genesis, the work of Martin Margiela delves into the transformative. In 2018, after creating Pet, an ordinary street signal covered with fake fur, for a group exhibition at Kunsthalle Bielefeld, Margiela opted for a much bigger format for his first solo show at the Lafayette Anticipations Foundation, Paris, in 2021: a life-size Bus Stop in metal and plexiglas, fully wrapped with the same material.

 

Margiela’s latest creation, Podium, is a minimalist metal platform that has undergone an intimate transformation through the extensive use of this unexpectedly hairy material, imbuing a once sterile object with an unusual alture, embracing the attraction of opposites.

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel unlimited 2024
Martin Margiela, Podium (2024) | image © designboom

 

 

Reinhard Mucha’s Island of the Blessed (2016/2024)

 

Island of the Blessed is the ironic title of this installation conceived in 2016 by Reinhard Mucha for his show ‘Schneller werden ohne Zeitverlust’ at Lia Rumma Gallery in Milan. Referring to Salvatore Settis’s influential book If Venice Dies, Mucha reflects on the degradation of historical urban landscapes: ‘Milan’s metamorphosis into an American-style downtown, where the urban center becomes instantly recognizable by virtue of a cluster of skyscrapers – like in Los Angeles – is not the belated triumph of modernity, but merely a façade.’ The installation delves into the role of memory, offering profound reflections examining our urban reality.

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel’s unlimited 2024
Reinhard Mucha, Island of the Blessed (2016/2024) | image © designboom

 

 

Chiharu Shiota’s The extended Line (2023-2024)

 

Chiharu Shiota’s The Extended Line is rooted in the artist’s personal experience as a cancer survivor but is intended to connect with the personal experience of the audience. ‘What does it mean to be human? I am asking questions that I believe every person is dealing with during their lifetime and not really getting to a clear conclusion. I believe in te strength of asking those questions together. While we have no answers, we still have the same suffering, regrets, and joys in life,’ says Chiharu Shiota (find more here). 

 

The free-standing 16 x 9 meter installation by Shiota consists of hundreds of kilometers of red ropes hanging above thee artist’s open hands and arms from which red papers seem to be flying out. 

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Chiharu Shiota, The Extended Line (2023-2024) | image courtesy of Templon

 

Julio Le Parc’s Zepelin de Acero (2021)

 

The monumental installation Zepelín de Acero (Steel Zeppelin) by Julio Le Parc (find more here) – presented for the first time at the Hermès Foundation in Tokyo in 2021 as part of the exhibition ‘Les Couleurs en jeu’ – offers a reinterpretation of the artist’s exploration of light boxes, characteristic of his installation works. This steel iteration raises questions about the diversity of experiences within a single encounter, evoking notions of motion, instability, and chance, and distancing itself from the idea of stable, singular, definitive artworks. At the core of Julio Le Parc’s practice is a desire to challenge viewers’ perceptions of art, encouraging active engagement and questioning the traditional roles of artist and observer.

from christo to yayoi kusama, here are the best installations of art basel’s unlimited 2024
Julio Le Parc, Zepelín de Acero (2021) | image © designboom

 

 

Yayoi Kusama’s Aspiring to Pumpkin’s Love, the Love in my Heart (2023)

 

Painted with Yayoi Kusama’s characteristic dots in vertical stripes, this monumental sculpture is part of a series of bronze pumpkin works first shown in the artist’s 2023 exhibition ‘I Spend Each Day Embracing Flowers’ at David Zwirner, New York. While pumpkin shapes have appeared in Kusama’s work since her early art studies in Japan in the 1950s, this organic form became central to her oeuvre from the 1980s onward. Here, its normally spherical shape is transfigured into an undulating surface, as if topologically morphed or stretched. The work’s installation prompts viewers to explore the work from various perspectives, each shift in viewpoint unveiling a dynamic interplay of space and form.

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