May 25, 2009 - Art Basel - Il Tempo del Postino
May 25, 2009

Il Tempo del Postino

Philippe Parreno
“Postman Time”
(“Il Tempo del Postino” Manchester Theater Festival in 2007)

Il Tempo del Postino
June 10 – 12, 2009
8.30 pm

Theater Basel

Il Tempo del Postino – “The World’s First Visual Arts Opera”

Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
June 10 – 12, 2009 [[,]] 8.30 pm at Theater Basel.


One of the most spectacular events during Art 40 Basel will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. The Independent called this unique show “The world’s first visual arts opera” after its first and only presentation at the Manchester International Festival in 2007, for which a group of the world’s leading visual artists created a major experimental presentation.

Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group show that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) presents a sequential display of time-based art on the theatre stage. After its first celebrated presentation, Richard Dorment of the Daily Telegraph wrote: “At the end of ‘Il Tempo del Postino’ I felt I’d been present at a historic occasion when the ambitions of the curators were perfectly matched by the quality of the art.” This elaborate and ambitious exhibition is now touring to Basel, where each of the twenty artists invited will create an act of different length.

In Basel “Il Tempo del Postino” will be directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija. In addition to works from the artists who participated in Manchester in 2007 – Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija & Arto Lindsay – “Il Tempo del Postino” in Basel will include new contributions by Thomas Demand and Peter Fischli / David Weiss.

By focusing on time-based work, this unique group show aims to redefine how the visual arts can be experienced. Set in a classic theater architecture, it transforms the established exhibition model into an exhilarating, shared audience experience. The question originally posed by the curators was: “What happens if having an exhibition is not a way to occupy space, but a way to occupy time?” For “Il Tempo del Postino” each artist creates their own piece, including the presentation of installations, and inviting performing artists, singers, actors, dancers and a full orchestra playing specially commissioned music. “Il Tempo del Postino” is delivered to the audience in its own presentation time, rather than the audience walking through it in their own time; the final production was created collaboratively with all participating artists feeding into the overall structure, assisted by a creative team of experienced theatre practitioners and technicians.

There will be three Theater Basel presentations of “Il Tempo del Postino,” on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, June 10 – 12, 2009 at 8.30 pm. Tickets are available for purchase at, ranging in price from 80 CHF to 200 CHF. Wednesday night is already sold out.

The book “Live Recorded Delay” about the production of Il Tempo del Postino, edited and designed by M/M (Paris) and published by Sternberg Press, will be on sale at the theatre before and after the performances.

“Il Tempo del Postino” is organized by Art Basel, Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel and was originally co-commissioned by the Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris for the World Premiere in Manchester in July 2007.

Produced with the kind support of Kanton Basel-Stadt, Kanton Basel-Landschaft, Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation and La Colección Jumex / Eugenio López.

Producer: Marc Bättig / Assistant Director: Ann-Christin Rommen / Production Designer: Sam Collins / Music Supervisor: Ari Benjamin Meyers / Lighting Designer: AJ Weissbard / Costume Designer: Ramdane Touhami / Orchestra: basel sinfonietta / Conductor: Jürg Henneberger

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