CONCEPTUAL FINE ARTS

Art Basel week 2015 starts at Liste with two promises: Flora Hauser and Olga Balema

When yesterday at 4.45 pm we entered the 20th edition of Liste Art Fair in Basel it was raining and the cheap plastic tents outside the building – probably not the best introduction to an art fair – were indeed their job well doing, protecting visitors from the thin drops of water gently falling from the grey sky of what every June since the dawn of the Seventies becomes the world capital of contemporary and emerging art. And it was still raining two hours later when we left the fair with the clear-cut evidence this anniversary edition has made happy most of 79 selected art galleries and 180 artists here exhibiting.

 

From the solo presentation of Flora Hauser that Ibid. is showing, only few pieces are still available, and considering the creative IQ of this only 22-year-old artist it is easy to predict that the show will be sold out by this evening. Her wide pale hazel brown canvases are a sort of mental territory shaped by micro drawings and, sometimes, writings. The small and impressive artist’s sketchbook that is on show – but not for sale – told us about a clear, ordered, clean, old fashioned and may be also a bit obsessive approach to research and storytelling. It follows that, even if the paintings are big, the beholder is driven to read them from a short distance, just like he would do with a map.

 

Olga Balema’s bags filled with water and iron bars have been a pleasant discovery for many collectors, and for those who have noticed her presence at “Function follows vision, vision follows reality”, the group show recently opened at the Kunsthalle Wien where she is also exhibiting. Touching the two floor sculptures presented here at Liste by High Art Paris – one of the new entries along with Clearing and Galerie Crèvecoeur – makes you wonder how long this soft object will last, but it is probably the only reason why, when we asked, one of them was still available.

 

June 16, 2015