Presents exhibitions of Ibon Aranberri, Minerva Cuevas and Michael Hakimi

Presents exhibitions of Ibon Aranberri, Minerva Cuevas and Michael Hakimi

Kunsthalle Basel

September 16, 2007




September 23 – November 11, 2007
Opening: Saturday, September 22, 2007, 7pm

Steinenberg 7
CH-4051 Basel
Tel +41 61 206 99 00 / Fax +41 61 206 99 19

Opening hours: Tue/Wed/Fri 11am-6pm / Thu 11am-8.30pm / Sat/Sun 11am-5pm

In September 2007, three individual exhibitions will open at Kunsthalle Basel.

Ibon Aranberri (born in Itziat-Deba, Spain, 1969) will present a group of works under a common title Integration. In the main exhibition space, prefabricated pieces of cast concrete will accumulate into an expansive architectural structure, supported by sawhorses. The profiled concrete slabs may seem reminiscent of curb blocks. However, as they are slightly elevated and topped with broken green bottles, as if meant to keep intruders away, they also bring to mind a top of concrete wall, lowered to waist-height. The idea for this work emerged in the context of Aranberri’s project Floating Garden (P.S.1, New York, 2004). The artist proposed to install modular pieces of concrete with inserts of glass shards on top of the iconic concrete wall surrounding the courtyard of P.S.1. Due to the institutions concerns about visitors safety, the piece in New York was realized as a series of prototypes and sketches. At Kunsthalle Basel, the piece has been adapted to the interior location and will materialize for the first time in its entirety. In two small adjoining spaces, Aranberri presents slide projection, including material for another project which has not come to fruition so far and exists as selection of documents and photographs, Light over Lemoniz (2000-). This proposal included the fireworks show on the (now abandoned) site of the nuclear power plant which was built 20 km from Bilbao in the early 70s and never started-up, due to a protest movement. The fireworks show was modeled on the one accompanying the opening of the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao in 1997. The works of Aranberri are exercises in decoding ideologies behind the appearances of specific

material structures.

In her show Phenomena, Minerva Cuevas (born in Mexico City, 1975) has addressed appearances: how we perceive and understand things. The title of the show refers to Immanuel Kant’s distinction between phenomena (“beings of sense”, appearances capable of being observed by one of the five human senses and understood by speculative reason) and noumena (“things in themselves”, transcendental objects), introduced in his Critique of Pure Reason (1781). Phenomena are, above all, raw data of striking and diverse qualities, and Minerva Cuevas brings some of these data forth in her installation, using customized antique optical devices, such as a projecting microscope and slide projectors, combined with modern fiber glass light projectors. The projected images belong to the standard repertory of popular science of the 19th and early 20th century: an ape wearing a jacket hangs on a tree, a collection of unicellular algae unravels. A series of four photographs depicts surfaces of meteorites from natural history museums in Mexico. They are juxtaposed with found film footage, presented on monitors, recording experiments in behavioral psychology meant to demonstrate the learning and adaptive skills of infants. In her installation The Battle of Calliope (2004) Minerva Cuevas used the recording of the Vodun drummers from Ghana, who performed the curse on the current U.S. political administration. The scientific specimens may become indistinguishable from curiosities, yet on the other hand, the obsolete techniques may bring surprisingly productive results. By including the outmoded techniques of observation as parts of her exhibition, the artist enables us to see how the ways of seeing have been constituted as social phenomena.

“I construct signs that let the semantic threshold become visible,” said Michael Hakimi (born in Eutin, Germany, 1968) in a recent interview. The threshold is a good example here — as it is both a part of the building, dividing the rooms, and more generally a difference between things that we perceive. At the Kunsthalle Basel, the artist shows his new installation interlocking two adjacent spaces. Depending on the point of view, the exhibition’s title — ROOF — may simply delineate the area on top of a building, or direct our attention to the heights above. The first space contains works realized in different techniques: black geometric shapes cut out of plywood lean against the wall, globes, coronae of the sun or other celestial bodies are spray-painted on different kinds of paper, or stuck on the walls. This ensemble of works evokes the broken skyline of a city at dusk, the cut-and-paste technique of the multiplication and repetition of motifs sets the viewer in the middle of a storyboard. The work develops as a fast-paced rhythmic collage of frames, and gains the quality of an early cinematic experiment. The second space may represent the proper roof. The monumental black shapes, painted directly onto the walls of the room, are supported by aluminium tubes attached to the walls at one end, and to the floor at the other. Two-dimensional images propped by solid sculptural infrastructure allude to the reduced contours of advertising signs seen from the back. Between the sign and the object falls the shadow, and it remains firmly there.

In conjunction with Minerva Cuevas’ exhibition a catalogue will be published in co-operation with the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven in early 2008. In January 2008 Minerva Cuevas will have an individual exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum. In relation to Ibon Aranberri‘s show at the Kunsthalle Basel, and following the exhibition projects of Ibon Aranberri at Frankfurter Kunstverein and Van Abbemuseum, scheduled respectively for 2008 and 2009, a publication is planned to come out at the end of 2008 in co-operation with the Frankfurter Kunstverein and Van Abbemuseum. By the end of the year a catalogue of works by Michael Hakimi will be produced in collaboration with the Kunstverein Hamburg.

For further information please visit our website:


Titles for the images (from left to right):

Ibon Aranberri

Light over Lemoniz, 2000-2003

Slide projection

Courtesy the artist

Minerva Cuevas

Like me, 2007

Magic lantern slide, circa 1900

Courtesy the artist

Michael Hakimi

Roof, 2007

Spray paint on paper

Courtesy the artist

The exhibition of works by Ibon Aranberri is generously supported by:

Annemarie Burckhardt and SEA CEX

Minerva Cuevas‘ exhibition received generous support from:

Annemarie Burckhardt and Fundacion/Coleccion Jumex

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Kunsthalle Basel
September 16, 2007

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