Photo: Barbara Kruger, Empatía, 2016.
BUENOS AIRES.- Taking place across three neighborhoods of the city, ‘Hopscotch’, curated by Cecilia Alemani, has been conceived as a journey through the city of Buenos Aires, occupying grand plazas and striking parks, abandoned buildings and museums of curiosities, derelict architectural structures and industrial relics that are not typically devoted to contemporary art. The selected artists were invited to create artworks in close dialogue with each of the venues, shaping a multilayered experience that connects visual arts, urban spaces and the city’s histories in unexpected ways. The participating artists comprise Eduardo Basualdo, Pia Camil, Maurizio Cattelan, Gabriel Chaile, Alex Da Corte, Santiago de Paoli, Narcisa Hirsch, David Horvitz, Leandro Katz, Barbara Kruger, Luciana Lamothe, Ad Minoliti, Eduardo Navarro, Alexandra Pirici, Mika Rottenberg, Mariela Scafati, Vivian Suter and Stan VanDerBeek. ‘Hopscotch’ will be accompanied by a Talks and a Cultural Partner Program, organized in partnership with the city’s leading arts institutions. The Art Basel Cities Week, taking place from September 6 – 12 2018, is an integral part of the program of Art Basel Cities: Buenos Aires, whose Global Lead Partner is UBS.
This year’s program is titled ‘Hopscotch (Rayuela)’ and borrows its name from the ground-breaking experimental novel by Argentine writer Julio Cortázar. Originally published in 1963, the novel follows a non-linear narrative that can be read in multiple sequences, jumping from chapter to chapter, as suggested by the title inspired by the ancient children’s street game popular in many cultures. Like the book and the game, the public art program hopscotches through the city, shaping possible journeys and different paths through urban space, creating unexpected connections between sites and artworks. Through this exploration of the city, local audiences and international visitors alike will discover never-seen-before venues and forgotten landmarks that will host artworks realized specifically for the Art Basel Cities Week. The artworks presented as part of ‘Hopscotch’ span from site-specific sculptures and experiential installations to live performances and participatory actions – most were specifically created for the program. Offering both, spectacular gestures and subtle interventions, artists have been commissioned to create works that will infiltrate the fabric of the city, creating new experiences, functioning as platforms for different encounters with art against the unique background of the city of Buenos Aires.
“I am honored to work in such an inspiring city as Buenos Aires. In the past months, I have visited many artists and cultural institutions and I am very excited by the depth, richness and effervescence of the local art scene”, says Cecilia Alemani, Artistic Director, Art Basel Cities Week. “Hopscotch brings together both Argentine and international artists who are working closely with the sites we selected for the program to create a full immersive experience that intertwines art and the city. It explores various locales along the waterside, connecting the neighborhood of La Boca, through Puerto Madero to that of Palermo, while intersecting many different venues that were built near the river. All in different ways, the artists in the program imagine new types of choral participation, composing intricate choreographies in which individuals and collectivities are woven into new models of co-existence.”
The program features a strong selection of Argentine artists such as Eduardo Basualdo whose installation along the Rio de la Plata will conjure up a progression of sculptural encounters engaging the viewers in a unique sensorial landscape; Ad Minoliti will stage her work in one of the few early 20th century Rationalist buildings in Buenos Aires, creating an installation that will also host a feminist symposium featuring talks and conversations with artists, writers and activists; Buenos Aires based artist Luciana Lamothe will present an oversized sculpture that will function as an extension of its site, evoking a space suspended between construction and destruction, present and future, architecture and ruin.
One of the highlights of the program is a special intervention by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. An experiment in social sculpture, Cattelan’s project – titled Eternity – will create a pop up, temporary cemetery for the living, realized in collaboration with hundreds of artists in Buenos Aires. Through an open call, artists and amateurs are invited to participate in this project by designing and creating gravestones and tombstones for people – friends and enemies, real individuals or imaginary characters, lovers and haters – that are still alive. This grotesque, fictional cemetery will be located in Palermo.
Many artists presented in ‘Hopscotch’ focus on the representation of bodies, both as tools for performances and collective actions, and as a locus for the construction of identities and communities. Mexico City-based artist Pia Camil creates environments that collapse the distance between the artwork and the audience into a shared experience. Camil will present an iteration of her ongoing project that utilizes T-shirts to trace sources of cultural heritage and routes of exchange. American artist David Horvitz will pay homage to Marcel Duchamp, commemorating the centennial of the French artist’s nine months sojourn in Buenos Aires in 1918.
Alongside ‘Hopscotch’, Art Basel Cities Week will present a cultural partner program of exhibitions, performances and special events at the city’s leading museums, foundations, associations and non-profit organizations, selected by Alemani. The week will be completed by an extensive talks program, starting this May, focusing on Buenos Aires’ active art scene and including in-situ conversations with the artists participating in the program.
Art Basel Cities is supported by UBS as Global Lead Partner, who, building on its existing support of the shows, has extended its support to the new initiative on a global level. Alejandro Velez, Head of Latin America, UBS said: “UBS is focused on offering our clients new perspectives and insights. Our long partnership with Art Basel is rooted in our shared belief in developing a global cultural platform for the exchange of innovative ideas. We are excited to support Art Basel Cities and by the opportunities the program offers to discover and engage with extraordinary cultural projects around the world, starting with Buenos Aires, a city with a thriving cultural community.”