Marktplatz Basel I 10.6. - 08.10.2023
This summer, Swiss artist Claudia Comte will take-over and transform the facade of Basel’s historical department store Globus with a large-scale installation that offers passers-by a moment of contemplation in their daily routines. Waves, Cacti and Sunsets is the first 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 Fondation Beyeler on inviting artists to conceive and realize new site-specific works of art that engage with the building and its facade.
The “Globus Public Art Project” is a new initiative by the Swiss department store, realized in collaboration with Fondation Beyeler. As part of this cooperation, each year an artist will be invited to conceive and realize a work of art for the public space in and around the building.
Waves, Cacti and Sunsets
Waves, Cacti and Sunsets presents a window into another world, a world of contemplation and stimulation. While a sweeping black and white pattern provides a second skin to Globus’ façade, consisting of an iridescent flow of lines and spanning the full height of the building, the work is comprised of large-format images of desert landscapes featuring tall cacti. In the background, a stunning sunset seduces and intrigues. The cacti are playful analogues of this plant and an ecological force: resilient and adaptive to the increasing aridity of land in many parts of the world. Camouflaged with a cartoonish environment that is both joyful and optimistic, the cactus is inscribed in Comte’s artistic vocabulary as a symbol of desertification. The third component of the work is a repeating image of waves breaking, connected to each other like a sequence of film stills set on pause. Rolling along on the ground level, these waves invite people to look up while counterbalancing the desert above. Yet, the landscape also causes pause for thought: the desert is too arid to sustain human life; the cacti are cast in marble and the sunset is a burning orange. The work’s undertones of ecological crisis provide a necessary counterpoint to the dreamscape.
Claudia Comte (b. 1983, Grancy) is a Swiss artist based in Basel, Switzerland. Her practice is guided by a longstanding interest in teasing out the history and memory of biomorphic forms through traditional hand processes, industrial and machine technologies. Comte’s site-specific installations bring together monumental wall paintings and sculptures playfully inspired by organic patterns and morphology, paying testament to the intelligence and transformative capacities of the ecological world.