GLOBUS Public Art Project

Market Square Basel I 8 June – 6 October 2024

This summer, Swiss-French artist Julian Charrière will transform Basel’s historical department store Globus, currently under renovation, with a boundary pushing artwork that aims to connect visitors across vast distances, bridging mountainous Switzerland with a Western Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador. A radical intervention in public space, it invites the citizens and visitors of Basel to become participants and protectors, lending their voices to one of Earth’s critical carbon sinks and biodiversity hotspots.

Calls for Action is the second iteration of the “Globus Public Art Project”. During the three-year renovation of its iconic department store on Basel’s market square, Globus is collaborating with the Fondation Beyeler on inviting artists to conceive and realize new site-specific works of art that engage with the building and the public.

Calls for Action

Julian Charrière’s Calls for Action brings together public art with land conservation, opening a live feed between the city of Basel and a Western Andean Cloud Forest in Ecuador to highlight the interconnectivity of our planet, along with the environmental issues that threaten such vital ecosystems. Featuring a large screen suspended on the department store façade, the project acts as a real-time window into the rich biodiversity of an endangered ecoregion. Encouraging communication and interaction, a phone booth has been installed on the market square, wherein visitors can pick up a phone to both listen and talk to this far removed ecosystem. Fostering a more intimate connection between the city and the jungle, Calls for Action thus proposes an encounter beyond mere spectatorship, whereby speaking into the rainforest we can also speak out on its behalf.

Through this collective experience, Julian Charrière seeks to create new planetary bonds beyond the boundaries of our immediate surroundings, showing how art can be a tool for connecting with environmental issues beyond our everyday lives. In the process it brings to the foreground urgent concerns regarding deforestation, environmental stewardship and the sustainable management of rainforests.

The conservation efforts of Calls for Action are realised in partnership with Art into Acres, Re:wild and Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco.

Julian Charrière

Julian Charrière (b. 1987) is a French-Swiss artist based in Berlin. A seminal voice in contemporary art, Charrière has been widely exhibited across esteemed institutions and museums around the globe. Marshalling performance, sculpture and photography, his projects often stem from remote fieldwork in liminal or discarded locations, such as volcanoes, ice fields and radioactive sites. By encountering places where acute geophysical identities have formed, Charrière speculates on alternative histories, often looking at materials through the lens of deep geological time. Exploring how our ideas of nature have changed from the Romantic movement into the Anthropocene, his projects deconstruct the cultural traditions which govern how we perceive and represent the natural world.


Julian Charrière, Sun Sets in Stone, 2024

In the artwork Sun Sets in Stone the artist Julian Charrière collapses both time and space, bridging a deep time that makes uncertain the threshold between the organic and geological; living and fossil. The artwork marks the continuation of the artist’s experiments with analogue double exposure photography, an unpredictable process where the final image is subject to accident rather than the will of the photographer. A medium format analogue camera is used that brings together two subjects, in this case an Ecuadorian cloud forest and a material trace from the Carboniferous period, layered onto a single black and white negative – a snapshot of biomes both past and present.

To realize this, Julian Charrière first surveyed the undergrowth of a Western Andean Cloud Forest, overgrown with tree ferns, orchids and bromeliads. A key biodiversity hotspot in Ecuador, it marks a site both biologically rich and deeply threatened by resource extraction, climate change and the global agro-industrial complex. On the same film negative, the artist then documented a Carboniferous era fossil, found in the geological collection of the Natural History Museum in Berlin. Folding the forest of the present into the remains of a past primordial realm, Sun Sets in Stone forges a panchronic ecosystem of its own, which while growing 350 million years apart, in the organic synapsis of planet Earth remain inextricably linked.

All proceeds from the sale of this edition will go to the non-profit foundation Art into Acres to contribute to the strategic conservation of the rainforest through projects selected as part of Calls for Action.

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