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HAPPENINGText: Toru Wada

Stepping into the first year of the Reiwa-era, the 49th edition of Art Basel opened its gates in the balmy weather between spring and summer. The thriving art event has maintained an upper trend in its annual evolvement, with new side events supporting various concepts linking to the main theme. Visitors this year could enjoy special exhibitions such as the 5th Photo Basel fair and the 2nd paper-art exhibition “Paper Positions“, encountering fresh perspectives unconventional to Art Basel.

Visitor centres were arranged in stations and airports in Basel to assist tourists from overseas, providing information about Art Basel, art museums in the city, and many more. The staff could speak multiple languages and the centres offered various convenient services such as ticket sales for buses and trams, as well as making taxi and limousine arrangements.

The 2019 Art Basel main hall was consisted of four sectors: “Unlimited“, with larger scales of artworks such as installations, performances and projection mapping; “Galleries“, featuring pieces showcased by famous art galleries around the world; “Statements“, an art competition exhibit sponsored by Baloise (a world-renowned insurance company based in Basel); “Conversation“, a series of session talks featuring artists, curators, and cultural figures under various backgrounds. In addition, visitors engaged in both art and landscape by exploring the “Parkours” sector, an interactive fitness trail-like gallery of installations set across the city of Basel. In comparison to metropolitan art fairs, these events highlighted the special appeal and possibilities of turning mid-sized cities into an art-festival scene.

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