Mark Baskett

Mir säget däm Chübel: Eine erleuchtete Blattlandschaft - mit Vögel
(We Say the Rubbish Bin: An Illuminated Paper Landscape – with Birds)

Ein Kunstwerk für Wollishofen, Zürich von Mark Baskett (NZ/CH)
An installation for Wollishofen, Zürich by Mark Baskett (NZ/CH)

31.03 – 26.04 2011

Opening: Wednesday, 30th of March 2011, from 7pm

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Initiating the artfoyer CAVIGELLI's program “Artist's Window”, the installation Mir säget däm Chübel: Eine erleuchtete Blattlandschaft - mit Vögel (We Say the Rubbish Bin: An Illuminated Paper Landscape – with Birds) is a work made by artist Mark Baskett for Zurich – Wollishofen. The installation presents itself in two different states/modes: one during the day, and one during the night. By day it covers the entire window of the galley with layers of newspaper, obscuring rather than revealing, much like the material used – the newspaper, while an object-like protrusion behind the window, made of aluminium foil and sticks can be viewed inside the gallery. This construction contains two halogen lamps which illuminate the composition at night. It is only then that the image created by the artist for the neighborhood appears more clearly to the eyes of passers-by. The work depicts an empty urban scene, where a few elements of a typical urban landscape in which there is no human presence are visible: the map of Zurich seen in every bus stop in the city, a garbage bin, advertisements, and a group of pigeons feeding off the traces of food left behind by their co-inhabitants, the humans. 

As the artist describes it himself, the installation is a “quiet work”: unspectacular, even cryptic at first glance, suggesting that art should not always scream loudly or in a spectacular manner about the issues that animate it. The “irrelevant”, the mundane, the absence itself can in their turn tell relevant stories or convey strong emotions. This quietness is something we may need at times, in the constant flux of information, advertisement and noise through which we are moving in our daily existence. The materials used are “poor” (torn paper, glue, tape), the use of newspaper -  carrier of much “informational noise”- suggesting a questioning of the relevance this medium still has for transmitting information, especially in the digital era of online magazines, TV, news portals, blogs etc. The transience and ephemerality of the newspaper (read and then thrown away after a day, an evening or 20 minutes) is mirrored in the temporary status of the installation, which will be subjected to the action of light, discoloration and gradual degradation during its display, until the final dismantling of the work at the end of the month.

Mark Baskett is an artist whose efforts in the past ten years have converged on the production of temporary art projects for exhibition in public space. He was born in Dunedin, New Zealand, studied in New Zealand and Germany and, since 2007, lives in Urdorf, Switzerland. He was awarded a 12 month residency by the town of Dübendorf in 2008-2009, as well as residencies in Berlin and in the “Akku Atelier” in Uster, in 2010. His projects are located in public spaces within the Zürich area (Uster, Dübendorf, Zürich), and his approach is by and large being site-specific: he immerses himself in often long and thorough research about an area, its people, history and other background elements related to the project, always paying attention to relevant details. 

Such relevant detail may appear hidden in the “illuminated landscape with birds”. To some of us, the scene may convey a familiar “feel” of the city, a certain nostalgic feeling of loss and absence, of loneliness, like the city of Zurich is often said to evoke. The viewers are free to associate their own imagery and memories to the illuminated image, which does not want to convey any hidden truth, to convince or protest.