by G. & G. Taborda
Miami’s largest art event of Art Basel this year is infused into the city itself, transforming it to become an art playground, where artists, galleries, art organizations from all over the world have invited the public to be part of the game.
Since its opening on Dec 3, we are embarked on this exciting 5-day ride to experience art and play.
The Dutch artist Theo Jansen’s installation has stirred an instantaneous curiosity in us; we were immediately attracted to the strange forms of his monumental Strandbeest or beach animals made by ordinary PVC tubes and moved by the wind. These creations, apparently fragile and paleolithic, invite us to reflex on the evolution of the species and their reproduction for survival, a work to which the artist has dedicated both conceptually and physically for the past 25 years.
According to him, these creations work like skeletons that are able to walk on the wind, and “they don’t have to eat”, and over time, they’d become better at surviving the elements such as storm and water.
One of the pieces, called Animaris Suspendisse, is Jansen’s biggest Strandbeest to date. It is 42-foot long and it can operate under pneumatic power, using its sails to drive pistons that compress air into plastic bottles that the artist consider them to be “wind stomachs”. He explains that when the wind dies, the beest still has power to retreat from the rising tide, and it even has sweat glands that prevent sand from binding its joints.
When we saw the installation, we felt as if we were in an archeological trip to both the past and the future.It can be viewed at the Collins Park in South Beach. (You can see more about his work in the video below.)
At the Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden the renowned American artist Dale Chihuly recreates nature within nature with his glass sculptures with intense vivid colors, taking us once again to a mythic-contemplative world .
At the main exhibition site at the Miami Convention Center the New York based Marina Abramovic has regaled a space to meditate with her “Art Basel Naps” or bell beds, gifting us a delicious moment of actually experiencing and living art even surrounded by the agitation of a crowded art event.
One amazing feature about these three art works is their invitation for us to establish a direct connection to nature through art, so that we could afford to slow down from the hustle-bustle of daily life and enter a state of contemplation.
Thank you, Art Basel, let’s keep on playing!
Video – Theo Jansen
*Image on Slider: Theo Jansen