I’m two weeks into my six-month residency in Basel, Switzerland, and really starting to feel settled. I wanted to take a few moments to share some information about the other artists in residence as well as a few others I have met since I arrived. Everyone is quite friendly, and I’m happy to have a great group of peers here.
A bit of info on the residency: it’s hosted by an organization called the iaab – International Exchange and Studio Program Basel. It’s an exchange program with Galapagos in D.U.M.B.O., so they host a Swiss artist during this same period.
Sami Lukkarinen is a painter from Finland who makes quite large paintings of Facebook profile images, though totally pixelated. I also recently learned of an annual group performance piece that Sami participates in which involves posing as a homeless person and washing windshields while cars are stopped in traffic.
Jan Henri Booyens is a painter from Pretoria, South Africa. He sports a cool curly-edged moustache and is definitely the badass of the group.
Georges Audet is a sculptor from Montreal who appreciates a good thrift store as much as I do. We can both be quite nervous and neurotic at times, a source of much amusement between us.
Taro Shinoda just arrived from Japan the other day – I met him but have not yet had a conversation, so can’t provide a detailed report. He has been videotaping the moon the last couple of nights which only adds to the intrigue.
I’ve also met a very interesting Swiss artist named Barbara Strebel, who also has a studio at iaab. Barbara has a project called ArtCast – a great archive of interviews with artists, including many big names, and she also puts out a newsletter with local arts listings in Basel. Barbara has been incredibly generous with her time, teaching us about local culture and even leading me on a tour of all the local fabric stores. She’s a very sweet woman and seems to know EVERYONE here! Pretty amazing.
One of the people I met through Barbara is an artist named Matias Huart. After meeting him, I checked out his website and saw that his work is quite nice and also very well known. He had a retrospective at the Fondation Beyeler (a modern art museum that’s about 10 feet from my studio) in 2009 and has shown at many of the museums here. In addition to his visual art he’s been involved in the music scene, working with John Cage, Laurie Anderson, Brian Eno (!) and Nina Hagen.
I also met through Barbara a very cool gentleman named Seamus Hughes, a choreographer, director, and visual artist from Dublin. He’s a very sweet and wise man who feels like an old friend from the get-go. He was the founder of Fieldworks Performance Group in Australia and has had a long and varied career, which included working with Joseph Beuys. I found some of his work online, like this choreographed piece Scenes from a Prison.