press release

Under the theme "Metaforms," 27 large-scale and site-specific installations and performances by leading and emerging artists from over 11 countries will turn Miami Beach’s Collins Park into an outdoor exhibition space. Produced in collaboration with the Bass Museum of Art for the fifth consecutive year, the sector, which is curated for the third year by Nicholas Baume, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art Fund, will include significant works by Olaf Breuning, James Capper, Tony Cragg, Melvin Edwards, Sam Falls, Sylvie Fleury, Katharina Grosse, Matt Johnson, Jacob Kassay, Kris Martin, Rubén Ortiz Torres, Athena Papadopoulos, Ishmael Randall-Weeks, Sterling Ruby, Michael Sailstorfer, Tomás Saraceno, Tony Tasset, Rirkrit Tiravanija, Francisco Ugarte, Timm Ulrichs, Marianne Vitale, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Hank Willis Thomas, Robert Wilson, Yan Xing and Xiao Yu.

The Public sector of Art Basel will open on Wednesday, December 2 at 7pm with a special evening performance program featuring Xavier Cha's supreme ultimate exercise (2015); Ernest Hawker (2015) by Ryan Gander; The Beautiful (2015) by Pope.L and Yan Xing's L'amour l'après-midi (2015). The Public Opening Night is free of charge and open to the public.

Several of the works will be participatory. Jacob Kassay's Untitled (2012–15) provides a place for individuals to gather together in conversation, while Sam Fall's Healing Pavilion (2015) similarly provide communal seating. Other work will convert inanimate objects into "moving beings," as with Mountaineer Prototype (2015) by James Capper.

Power, manipulation and structures of oppression will be implied themes in several works. Ukpo.Edo (1993/1996) is a stainless steel installation by Melvin Edwards comprised of large metal links, a poignant symbol of both the history of slavery and oppression as well as the interrelation between people and cultures. Matt Johnson’s Twisted Jersey Barrier (2015), evocative of a warped concrete highway divider, and Sterling Ruby’s Big Yellow Mama (2013), based on the notorious Alabama electric chair, both reference objects designed to exercise control. Robert Wilson’s tall, slender chairs from the original 1976 production of Einstein on the Beach will evoke a trio of elevated figures standing in judgment.

Reflections on identity and subjectivity are also embedded in Olaf Breuning’s polished steel series of oversized heads, Athena Papadopoulos’ Two Serious(ly) (Young) Women (2015) and Hank Willis Thomas’ single bench Ernest and Ruth (2015). In Yan Xing’s playful performance L’amour l’après midi (2015), young men clad in Chinese silks and embroidery will flirt with passersby, projecting emotions like love, anxiety and lust through their eyes, body language and sparse dialogue.

Marianne Vitale’s nine-meter-long sculpture Ace of Spades (2015) is comprised of relics of the industrial age. As Vitale brings the past into dialogue with the present, so too does Ishmael Randall-Weeks’ simulated archaeology and Kris Martin’s bare bones interpretation of the 15th-century Ghent Altarpiece by Hubert and Jan van Eyck. Objects and images from popular culture and daily life animate works by Sylvie Fleury, who will broadcast the name of a supposed new fragrance in neon; Sterling Ruby, with a giant tubular set of red lips; and Michael Sailstorfer, in the form of potted beer garden lights. Additionally, Rubén Ortiz Torres’ Collector’s Backyard Boogie (2015) will set customized shopping carts into motion with a hydraulic lift. Tony Tasset will play with our sense of perception through a monumental deer lawn ornament, while Rirkrit Tiravanija will bend the meaning of language through a solar powered LED-lit sign.

For many artists, the forms, processes and systems of nature are evoked in more or less explicit ways and with varying degrees of abstraction. Examples include Tony Cragg’s twinned, spiraling bronze sculpture Mixed Feelings (2012), Katharina Grosse’s colossal, painterly abstract forms, Tomás Saraceno’s delicate One Module Cloud with Interior Net (2015), Timm Ulrichs’ kinetic sculpture Von null bis unendlich (from here to eternity) (1986), Francisco Ugarte’s site-specific sculpture, Sunlight I (2015), and Ursula Von Rydingsvard’s large-scale bronze sculpture, Bent Lace (2014). On display inside the Rotunda will be Xiao Yu’s Elevation No. 2 (2013).

The exhibition at Collins Park will last until Sunday, December 6, 2015, although a selection of artworks will remain installed in Collins Park until February 1, 2016 as part of tc: temporary contemporary. Tours will be offered daily at 2pm starting from the On-site Info Point (no reservation required). Private, group and school-group tours will be offered by reservation.