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art basel 2023

Nature and abstraction, be that representations of leaves or water, are recurring ideas which Gabriel Orozco and Oscar Murillo have been returning to in newer bodies of work. Similarly, representations of animals have began to feature in the works of Anri Sala and Nairy Baghramian, looking at how they can be abstracted and reimagined through different material investigations of painting and sculpture. The collaging of non-traditional materials are present in the work of Haegue Yang, Damian Ortega and Danh Vo, ranging from hanji paper, to cement bags, to gold leafed cardboard beer boxes. In a different direction, explorations between the human and the machine take centerfold in the works of Adrian Villar Rojas and WangShui, looking to explore the realm of machine learning and machine production. Shifting away, materiality and tension are felt in the sculptural works of Abraham Cruzvillegas and Damain Ortega, whilst signaling the importance of abstraction and experimentation. In differing ways, portraiture and the human figure are points of departure for Paulina Olowska, Roberto Gil de Montes, Sarah Lucas and Serguei Eisenstein, ranging from fashion photography and mysticism, queerness and identity, or imaginative musings of the figure in various states of compromise and confusion. Finally, a special Kabinett presentation of new works by Petrit Halilaj concludes our presentation. 


petrit halilaj in kabinett sector 

The world of birds has provided an endless source of inspiration for the Kosovar artist Petrit Halilaj, who since a young age found himself captivated by the flying creatures. Comprising several different bodies of works and spanning over seven years of research, this proposal explores the particular fascination between Halilaj and birds. The drawings from the series Several birds fly away when they understand it, depict images from the bird archive of the former Natural History Museum of Kosovo. Creating risographs of original photographs of the birds, which were found in the archive of the former Museum of Natural History of Pristina, Halilaj modified the prints by hand-painting ornate, exotic masks on them in an effort to restore dignity and beauty to the forgotten taxidermic creatures. The drawings and risograph prints were made on inventory cards found in the Natural History Museum of Kosovo. Poisoned by men in need of some love revolves around the lost taxidermic collection of the former Museum which, after the Kosovo War and Kosovo’s subsequent establishment as the Republic of Kosovo, was discarded in favor of a more nationalistic display that replaced the animals in the Ethnographic Museum of Kosovo.

Halilaj produced an extensive body of work, encompassing sculptural reproductions of the lost taxidermic animals, vitrines and artifacts from the original collection, a 3-channel video documenting its rediscovery and drawings made on original archival papers of the museum. The series has since been the subject of several exhibitions and presentations and represents one of Halilaj’s most important projects to date. The poetic significance of bird calls and our human attempts to imitate them is another facet of Halilaj’s work, where bird songs are connected to the idea of language and narration.

Within this context, one of the proposed works for this years Kabinett is “Bird feeding stations”, 2020-ongoing. This work originally stems from the Crystal Palace exhibition, where these stations were placed as part of the bower nest, providing a feeding and resting place for the birds leaving in the Retiro Park and flying around the exhibition space. The sculpture is made of brass (transparent powder coated) and it consists of a bird feet, holding a plate where edible seeds are placed. The work is installed by drilling 2 holes in the wall and pinning the sculpture in position. The work can be presented indoors or outdoors. And it comes in several configurations (3x, 4x, 5x, 8x plates)."