Contemporary art Interview Fairs Switzerland

Al-fresco art in the Kaserne

Parcours’ new curator on staging the section in Basel’s lively cultural quarter

Florence Derieux. Photo by Julie Berthelemy

The fourth edition of Parcours returns to Art Basel with 17 performances and site-specific installations in Klingental, one of Basel’s liveliest areas. Organised for the first time by Florence Derieux, the director of Frac Champagne-Ardenne in Reims, France (all of the previous editions were curated by Jens Hoffmann, currently the deputy director of the Jewish Museum in New York), Parcours comprises old and new works by Marina Abramovic, Marc Bauer, Olaf Breuning, Tom Burr, Michael Craig-Martin, Lothar Hempel, Joep van Liefland, Jill Magid, Lisa Oppenheim, Evariste Richer, Sterling Ruby, Michael Smith and Joshua White, Valerie Snobeck, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Danh Vo, Martin Walde and Artur Zmijewski. The section opened yesterday with Parcours Night, and it remains open until Sunday; all performances and screenings, except the L.A. Dance Project, are free of charge. Parcours is open today, tomorrow and Saturday (11am-10pm) and on Sunday (11am-7pm).

The Art Newspaper: What made you want to work on Parcours?

Florence Derieux: It’s a fantastic opportunity to develop a project in the context of Art Basel and within the city. The idea behind Parcours—to provide artists, galleries and art professionals with the opportunity to see art developed in different ways and in different locations around Basel—is very exciting for me. It is very positive that art fairs adapt to new artistic developments and [acknowledge] the renewed interest in environments, installations and performances. Creating links between art and the public in different ways is the core of my work at Frac.

What is the historical significance of the Klingental neighbourhood and sites?

Klingental is extremely near the fair [a five-minute walk]. During the Middle Ages, they sent people they didn’t want to live with to that area, such as foreigners, prostitutes and other people who were living on the margins. Today it’s considered the liveliest area of Basel, specifically the Kaserne: it’s full of cultural institutions, creative businesses and even the first ever artist studios in Switzerland, created in 1964, where many artists still work today. After visiting the venues several times, I knew the area and was able to develop projects with the site as the prime element.

What are some of the highlights of Parcours?

Tom Burr’s outdoor installation of wooden and metal sculptures at Kasernenplatz [Dressage, 2013] directly responds to the former military training and equestrian uses of the site. Burr’s work is very important for many artists; he’s what artists call an artist’s artist. His work has always been present but not visible enough for us to understand the links between different artists [who have been influenced by him], and between recent history and the present.

There are three main projects during Parcours Night: a performance by Michael Smith [Avuncular Quest, 2013], a screening of Marc Bauer’s animated film [The Architect, 2013] with live music by the band Kafka, and the L.A. Dance Project at Kaserne Basel, a place for theatre, dance and music. From the beginning, I wanted to realise collaborations with people who are already working there. The L.A. Dance Project will present a collaboration between the choreographer and artist Benjamin Millepied and the artist Christopher Wool [Moving Parts, 2012] and will perform a historical piece by Merce Cunningham [Winterbranch, 1964], a collaboration with Robert Rauschenberg—who conceived of the costumes, décor, accessories and lighting—with music by La Monte Young. It is very interesting because it is really about collaborations—the relationship between visual arts, dance, music and many other creative areas.

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