14 June 2016

Olaf Metzel
Alexander Forbes: At Art Basel, the Most Relevant Art Today Is from Decades Ago

www.artsy.net

Bildschirmfoto 2016-06-15 um 13.34.30

The presentations best poised to address the particular troubles we’re facing at the moment can be found in Art Basel in Basel’s Feature section of gallery-led curatorial projects. Olaf Metzel’s Sammelstelle (1992), presented by Berlin’s Wentrup, was initially conceived as a response to the influx of migrants Germany received in the early ’90s from Yugoslavia. “It was a hot issue in Germany at the time, but it also has topical relevancy to the current migration crisis in Europe,” said the gallery’s Colin Huerter of the piece. Passing through a giant metal turnstile, visitors enter a holding chamber that feels more fit for cattle than human occupants. In its current context this could be Lampedusa, Lesbos, or even Berlin. In a possible future context, depending on the outcome of the American presidential election this November, it could be the newest series of Trump Towers, erected alongside airport tarmacs countrywide. “It’s a great time to show artists whose work is more politically minded,” said Huerter of Metzel, who was standing like a sentry outside his piece’s gate. “It’s a good time to talk about real issues that need to be contended with.”

 

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