Basels new culture hub puts Caribbean artists, Picasso and Klaus Littmanns next nature project in the mix

Minia Biabiany's "Toli Toli" Video installation (2018). Courtesy of the KBH.G cultural foundation

A vast new exhibition space located in the heart of Basel has launched with an ambitious show of works by contemporary Caribbean artists. The new venue will be run by Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger (KBH.G cultural foundation), which aims to draw local and international audiences with the offer of free entry, free catalogues and an eclectic programme encompassing Picasso and Swiss eco artist Klaus Littmann.

The new KBH.G venue was due to open in July during the 50th edition of the Art Basel fair but the launch was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The new space is housed in a former factory for fabricating micromotors.

KBH.G was founded by the Swiss philanthropist Sibylle Piermattei Geiger and is named after her paternal grandfather, the pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Hermann Geiger. Sibylle, an artist and stage designer who worked at Cinecittà studios in Rome, died earlier this year.

The running costs of the new Basel venue will be met by the KBH.G culture foundation; the foundation “will produce an elaborate catalogue for each show, which is free of charge for visitors, hence allowing them to take a piece of each exhibition home with them”, says a project statement.

An installation view of "One month after being known in that island", with works by Tessa Mars and Ramón Miranda Beltrán.

The opening exhibition, one month after being known in that island (27 August-15 November), dedicated to artists across the Caribbean and in the diaspora, is organised by the Basel-based non-profit Caribbean Art Initiative. Puerto Rico-born Ramón Miranda Beltrán, Haiti-based Guy Régis Jr. and José Morbán of the Dominican Republic are among the 11 artists featured.

The exhibition addresses the legacy of colonialism, focusing for instance on the 1795 Peace of Basel treaties in which the Spanish monarchy ceded more than two-thirds of the Caribbean east of Hispaniola—including the Dominican Republic—to France.

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