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The clout of Art Basel reigns well. With over 250 galleries spread across three floors this, the most important art show in Asia, had plenty to showcase, from proven names to emerging talent. Here are five of the fair’s many many pieces that caught our eye.
1. Untitled 2017 (no water no fire)
By Rirkrit Tiravanija, neugerriemschneider, Berlin
One of the 17 large-scale installations forming the fair’s Encounters series, a maze of bamboo scaffolding turns into a meditation of birth, life and death through five 3D-printed bonsai trees scattered throughout the path that bud, grow then finally shed their polyester leaves.
2. Spice Sheets (2012)
By Haegue Yang, STPI Gallery, Singapore
Created as part of the artist’s residency at STPI Gallery, these 20 sheets are made out of handmade paper beaten into shape with 20 various spices and herbs, from ginger powder to star anise. Each sheet indicates the weight of the spices used, and its origin, as a musing on how vast and global this unappreciated trade is.
3. Circadian Rhythm
By Cheng Ran, Audemars Piguet, Collector’s Lounge
A commission by Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet presented at the VIPs-only Collector’s Lounge, Cheng Ran’s short film presents the lush forest of Valleé de Joux in the Jura Mountains as an example of hypnotic multimedia art, scored with a soundtrack that is both ethereal and pulsating.
4. Summit (2009-2010)
By Shen Shaomin, Osage, Hong Kong
One of the most popular installations, this work creates a deathbed mausoleum of the five most significant Communist leaders in history – Lenin, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Kim Il Sung and Castro – lying deceased. Castro’s body has not been updated to reflect his recent death (you can see his body breathing gently on life support) but that temporal anachronism didn’t stop the thousands of selfies with the leaders.
5. Duct (2016)
By Ivan Navarro, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York
Navarro’s signature technique of combining neon lights and a one-way mirror backing to create an infinite tunnel of lights was a huge draw. Placed on the floor, Duct simulates an endless vertical tunnel descending into the unknown with the lights inviting use as a ladder, despite only being 30cm high.