Art Basel’s show of large-scale work, Unlimited, has been a big attraction since it became part of the fair in 2000, and following the hall’s extension by Herzog & de Meuron, it’s now even bigger, this year with 79 major works on show. Here’s ArtReview’s top five.
1. Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Enough Tiranny, 1972
While many works tend towards the gigantic and grandiose in Unlimited, Chaimowicz’s historic representation of this dark and refracted space is joyfully intimate and offers a blissfully camp form of tranquillity. Chaimowicz’s installation is a twilight space in which light glints on mirrorballs, fur, fake flowers, stiletto shoes and model planes, and fish swim in indoor fountains. Objects and connections are gathered and then splintered in the disco lights.
2. Pierre Huyghe, A Way in Untilled, 2013
Anyone who saw last year’s Documenta 13 will be prewarmed to Pierre Huyghe’s new film, which was made in his mulchy installation in Kassel’s Karlsaue Park. Watching Human, the white dog with one pink leg who was resident in this fecund environment, pick his way over piles of earth, past a reclining statue whose head was covered in bees, was undoubtedly one of the highlights of that well-received exhibition. This film beautifully crystallises that experience, depicting the dirty, teeming fertility of life, in which insects have wings as loud as helicopters and the seasons are so violently glorious that they hurt.
3. Tunga, Ão, 1981
Frank Sinatra’s crooning rings out around the exhibition hall, emanating from this installation by the Brazilian artist Tunga. A 16mm film depicting a journey through an endless tunnel plays on a loop, its film strip extended on a track so that it travels in a circle around the room close to the floor. Sinatra sings “night and day, day and night, night and day”, also on a loop, over and over and over, seeming to speak to film as a kind of dark, endless netherworld. Like Sinatra in his later years, this work has a seductive, old-fashioned appeal.
4. Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Artichoke Underground, 2013
OK, so Mike Nelson should probably sue these two, given that it’s impossible to forget Nelson’s work in this creepy architectural conglomeration of conjoined, fictional spaces. But working through what appears to be a bizarre printmaking studio, in which crystals have blossomed and pornography plays on repeat, is still a gleeful experience, especially when one reaches a Chinese takeaway counter in the centre, which appears to be selling cameras and telephones moulded from of rice.
5. Amalia Pica, Strangers, 2008–11
In the midst of all this grandeur, two strangers collaborate by holding up a piece of coloured bunting for hours on end. A silent, intimate relationship is created by the two people, as well as a kind of celebratory sculpture. This is a quiet, romantic work with an air of aimless festivity – perfect for an art fair, in which people meet over objects.