Messe Basel
15 – 18 June 2017

Swiss artist Claudia Comte will transform Basel’s Messeplatz into an immersive funfair

‘NOW I WON’, a new monumental outdoor installation by Claudia Comte (1983), curated by Chus Martínez, Head of Art Institute at FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel, will be presented for the first time during Art Basel. Situated directly on Messeplatz, in front of the exhibition halls, the work will take the form of a fully functioning funfair. Here the artist will challenge the audience to various games and activities including darts, bowling, arm wrestling, mini golf, dancing competitions and more. Comte’s own works – such as her target paintings, wooden or marble sculptures – are part of the very environment in which the audience will compete to win an original artwork by the artist.

Made especially for the show, ‘NOW I WON’ consists of two parts: an immersive funfair installation, which actively engages the public to compete in a range of games and competitions, and a large-scale sculpture that spells out the palindrome title of the work: ‘NOW I WON’. Made of 23 tree trunks, each six meters long, 50 centimeters wide and each weighing 800 kilograms, the sculpture will sit upon an artificially created hill overlooking the funfair.

Claudia Comte’s funfair will include seven booths, each one placed underneath one of the letters of the sculpture and with an individual design corresponding to the respective letter. Formally, the installation serves as a comprehensive representation of Comte’s work and visual language, exploring the intrinsic nature of her work as well as recurring themes such as geometry versus nature, formalism versus affect, pop culture and Op Art. ‘NOW I WON’ is the artist’s response to Art Basel and the art market in general: a playful commentary on the value of art once it enters the art market, which Comte quite literally refers to as a ‘fun fair’.

When entering, visitors will be stepping into the universe of Claudia Comte. All wooden booth stalls will be carved by the artist with a chainsaw – a tool she uses traditionally in her work. Inside, the booths will feature Comte’s circular abstract paintings installed as dart targets and her wooden and marble sculptures, this time functioning as bowling pins or as tunnels, slopes and barriers of the mini golf course. The funfair will be open to everyone for a small nominal fee and there will be a prize for the overall winner of the competition: an original artwork by the artist, created especially for the fun fair.

Activities include:

Slurp ‘Em Up: At this booth participants take part in a number of drinking games
Swing it Through: A mini golf course that has to be completed with a limited number of swings
Hit The Middle: A darts stand with paintings by Comte for targets
Dance Or Die: Participants face a competitive dance-off
Knock ‘M’ Out: At this ball toss stand participants aim at a row of sculptures made by Comte
Drop ‘Em All: The bowling alley will also feature Comte’s sculptures instead of traditional pins
Bend Or Break: Competitive arm wrestling
About Claudia Comte

Claudia Comte is an artist living and working in Berlin. She is represented by König Galerie in Berlin and Gladstone Gallery in New York and Brussels. Comte’s recent solo exhibitions include ’40 Walls, 10 Rooms and 1046 m2′ at Kunstmuseum Luzern; ‘The Curves, the Corners and the Machines, Le printemps de Septembre’ at Festival International d’Art Toulouse, and ‘Zigzag Division’ at Musée Cantonal des Beaux Arts, Lausanne. Her current group project ‘Desert X’ in Palm Springs, California offers the Coachella Valley and its desert landscape as backdrop to site specific works.