Art in Architecture

Robert Barry
Outside Wallpiece for Basel (2023)

Art in architecture project (Kunst am Bau) initiated and realized by TheArtists.

In the 1970s, Barry introduced language into his installations. By incorporating words into his artworks, Barry invites the audience to conceive of the work, together, whatever it may mean. All capitals and captivating with their bold colours, the words in Outside Wallpiece for Basel (2023) are painted directly onto the façade of the building at Drahtzugstrasse 67 in Basel. Many possible meanings may arrange themselves in the minds of each viewer. Eyes are left to wander the words. Singled out, read in sequence, scanned from left to right, top to bottom or vice versa, creating streams of consciousness. The words have been cut off prematurely and they tumble through the mind of the viewer, creating a personal and immersive experience and asking viewers to actively participate in the creation of meaning and narrative. On a grand scale, the viewer is invited to consider the very edge of the building in a way outside of the ordinary. The stone, brick, tile corners of what is very much a human space is abstracted by the artworks into the edge of the canvas, the conceptual picture plane. In this work and in situ, we grapple with fragments of understanding and somehow resolve meaning.

Outside Wallpiece for Basel is on view since July 2023 at Drahtzugstrasse 67 in Basel, Switzerland.

Barry robert wall painting drahtzugstrasse basel
Rirkrit Tiravanija
The Odious Smell of Truth (2019)

Art in architecture project (Kunst am Bau) initiated and realized by TheArtists.

Right next to the Messeplatz and Art Basel, Rirkrit Tiravanija presented his work The Odious Smell of Truth (2019), written in bold black letters directly on the outside wall of a building. «One can read these menetekel-like words as a commentary on the sometimes bitter insights that the mighty Art Basel teaches us. But the Thai artist is never interested in simple interpretations; his art is open to interpretation and welcomes contradictions.» (Monopol)

Rirkrit Tiravanija's work is characterised by great versatility and a constant involvement of the viewer - exchange and freedom of interpretation are essential components of his practice. Since the late 1980s, he has been experimenting with open, sometimes surprising formats that question how the classical conceptions of art can be extended, how the boundaries of an exhibition space broadened, and its limiting barriers circumvented. Creating spaces for relationships, encounters and reactions forms the basis of his works. He works with different cultural contexts, linking them and using them as references.

The Odious Smell of Truth was on view from 10. Juni 2019 – 31. Mai 2023 at Drahtzugstrasse 67 in Basel, Switzerland.

Tiravaijna rirkrit drahtzugstrasse basel
Jan Paul Evers
Abstrakt getarnte Bürgerlichkeit (2018)

Art in architecture project (Kunst am Bau) initiated and realized by TheArtists.

Over the course of a year, a billboard-sized black-and-white print adorned the side of a building in Basel. Titled Abstrakt getarnte Bürgerlichkeit (2018) and printed onto the plastic canvas used by freight trucks, then strapped onto an aluminium frame, its image was robust yet surprisingly ethereal. Sharp-edged, brilliantly lit architectural forms keenly suggested an actual place, yet are unrecognisable, anonymous – relating and abstracting the street alignment typical for European cities.

In making his artworks, Evers utilises both analogue and digital technologies in a complex and labour-intensive process that he likens to sculpture. He creates through a process of careful addition and extraction, crafting and constructing a final, unique object in which the chance kinks of light during its making become the picture’s punctum. The corpus of each print — its three-dimensional body — is important. For the first time printed on a tough plastic and at the scale of a building, Abstrakt getarnte Bürgerlichkeit represented a new departure for Evers, taking his photography outside of the gallery and into the public realm where its material form and image can proposition passers-by.

Abstrakt getarnte Bürgerlichkeit was on view from 11 June 2018 – 31 May 2019 at Drahtzugstrasse 67 in Basel, Switzerland.

Evers jan paul drahtzugstrasse basel
Danh Vō
Wallpaper* (2009)

Art in architecture project (Kunst am Bau) initiated and realized by TheArtists.

In his work, Danh Vō often interweaves his personal history with global political events - here he deals with the presence of the former colonial power France in Southeast Asia. The delicate pale red plants on the wallpaper are plant species collected by the French missionary and botanist Jean-André Soulié (1858-1905) and given Latin names. He often used his own name as a designation (e.g. ‘Lilium souliei’) and thus appropriated the native flora in a classic colonial manner. Like Soulié, Théophane Vénard (1829-1861) was also a missionary in Vietnam and was executed there for illegal missionary activities. In a final letter to his father, he describes man as a flower that will eventually be plucked by God. Vō asked his own father to make a handwritten copy of the letter. Vō's father does not speak French, but is a master of calligraphy. Here, Vō sheds a multi-layered light on the question of legacy and transience against the backdrop of colonial entanglements.

Dhan Vo’s wallpaper was commissioned and is installed in a five-story staircase in a residential multi-family house in Zurich.

Vo dhan josefstrasse zurich

*The full title of the wallpaper is:
Aconitum souliei, Inflorescence portion / Lilium souliei, outer and inner tepel / Anemone coelestina var. souliei, flowering plant / Rosa soulieana, fruit / Aconitum souliei, cauline leaf / Anemone coelestina, basal leaf / Anemone coelestina, carpel / Luzula rufescens, flowering plant / Anconitum souliei, upper cauline leaf / Anemone coelestina, basal leaf / Anemone coelestina, flowering plant / Rosa soulieana, fruiting branch / Lilium souliei, distal portion of flowering plant / Nepeta souliei, flowering plant / Rosa soulieana, flowering branch / Cerasus fruticosa, fruiting branch / Cerasus tomentosa var. souliei, fruiting branch

Karsten Födinger 
Domestic Wildcards (2014)

Art in architecture project (Kunst am Bau) initiated and realized by TheArtists.

Originally part of the exhibition «Domestic Wildcards» (30 August – 31 October 2014) at the gallery RaebervonStenglin, this sculpture is now installed in the back yard of a multi-story house in Zurich.

In «Domestic Wildcards», Födinger played with the viewer’s expectations. Both gallery spaces were filled with pillar pedestals, each made with different techniques and to different designs and specifications. These are built in part out of the heavy-duty construction materials that have become a signature of his work — reinforced concrete, steel, brick and wood — but unusually also employ substances better suited for model-making: plywood, wood-filler, chipboard and paint. Presented like a body of classical sculptures, these works gave the immediate impression of being more domesticated than his previous projects, yet their raison d’être is the opposite of tame. The sculptures grew out of an unrealisable idea Födinger first proposed for the inaugural exhibition at RaebervonStenglin which has become an on-going quest for the artist: to remove an existing pillar of a gallery and replace it with a substitute structure — an Atlas-like sculpture that would bear the weight of the overlying part of the architecture. The new works are just such substitute structures, except in that they are now denied of any functionality, plinths that have supplanted the part of sculpture. They are ‘wildcards’ in the sense that the fitness for their purpose is untellable like jokers in a pack; ‘domestic’ in their promise of servitude, or suggesting a similarity to the racing cyclists who create the slipstream for another to gain the lead.

Karsten foedinger josefstrasse kunst am bau art in architecture