Samuel Leuenberger has survived the seven-year itch and all the limitations of the recent pandemic. Now he is getting ready for his eighth Parcours. The curator has promised that over a third of this year’s public-space projects will be entirely new—and the old town will once again lie at its center, after art events having moved to other parts of the city in recent years.
The deconsecrated Martinskirche is a few steps away from Münsterplatz. New York artist Chloe Wise will lay out doormats on a podium stage featuring absurd texts. The audience will stand on them to view a video screen showing fake commercials Wise produced in LA with advertising professionals. The absurdity of consumer culture can also be felt on a massive video screen in an alleyway snaking from the art museum through the old town.
Leuenberger is pleased that outdoor 3 x 4 meter LED screens have become affordable these days, and that with them he was able to bring California artist Petra Cortright on board for Parcours. The net artist has combined screen savers from all manner of computer screens to form a dystopian landscape in which the world is submerged — a perversely beautiful effect.
Art in times of crisis: while Cortright reflects on climate change, Julian Irlinger examines past and future banking crises. The German artist has collected emergency money from periods of inflation. Irlinger plans to present the vertiginously large numbers on the bank notes with often-bizarre imagery in the offices of a bank. He also displays a ruined landscape of half-timbered houses that he built from Playmobil pieces.
Kaspar Müller’s kooky yet monstrous giants made of straw loom over Münsterplatz. The straw men rise up to four meters in height and make simple gestures, as Leuenberger explains. “One is kneeling on the ground, and another is raising his arm to the sky.” Simple materials and a transparent language—the curator is clearly after a Parcours that is accessible to the public and easily comprehended. This year’s slogan is “Word of Mouth,” because “you can write a lot about art, but I like best those works whose force is immediately palpable and sparks discussion,” Leuenberger explains. Doubtless Parcours is destined to be the talk of the town in Basel this year