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The most talked-about artworks and art exhibitions in 2018

The most talked-about artworks and art exhibitions in 2018

Fine art

Text: Aravin Sandran


'Tom Sachs: Swiss Passport Office', Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, London, U.K.
5 October to 6 October 2018

To coincide with Frieze Week, American artist Tom Sachs issued Swiss passports at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in London. The gallery remained open for 24 hours for the artist's 'Swiss Passport Office' installation, from 6pm on 5 October to 6pm on 6 October. At a cost of €20 (no British pounds were accepted), visitors were photographed and had their name hand-typed onto a serial-numbered Tom Sachs Studio passport, stamped with the studio's endorsement and entered into their database. After the 24-hour period, the installation stopped issuing passports but remained on view until 10 November. The installation addressed concerns relating to the ongoing Brexit debacle, Syria and Trump's immigrant policies. The Swiss passport is one of the most powerful passports in the world and the country is known for being an economic shelter for the extremely wealthy during times of war or persecution. 

 

Wes Anderson and Juman Malouf: Spitzmaus Mummy in a Coffin and other Treasures, Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, Vienna, Austria
6 November 2018 to 28 April 2019

In 2012, the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna started a new series of guest-curated exhibitions to bring fresh eyes to its expansive historical collections. Following painter Ed Ruscha and British ceramist Edmund de Waal, the third instalment of the series was curated by eccentric filmmaker Wes Anderson and his partner, writer and illustrator Juman Malouf. With assistance from the museum's curators and conservators, Anderson and Malouf assembled more than 400 objects drawn from all fourteen of the museum's historical collections. More than 350 objects that hadn't seen the light of day sequestered in the museum's storage were on public display for the first time. However, some of the links between the objects were so inconspicuous that even the museum's curators failed to detect some of the connections. Take for example a 17th-century emerald vessel that was placed opposite a bright green costume from a 1978 production of Hedda Gabler to draw attention to the molecular similarities between the hexagonal crystal and Shantung silk.


'teamLab Planets TOKYO', Tokyo, Japan
7 July 2018 to Fall 2020

Singapore is no stranger to teamLab's immersive hi-tech interactive art. The interdisciplinary art collective's 'Future World' permanent exhibition at the ArtScience Museum welcomed its millionth visitor this year. However, teamLab took it to a whole new level when it expanded its popular 2016 exhibition to create a massive 10,000 square meters 'body immersive' space in Tokyo this year. Visitors had the opportunity to engage with the collective's most epic installations one after another on an unprecedented scale. A highlight of the virtually enhanced space includes 'floating in the falling universe of flowers', which displays an entire season of floral bouquets blooming and evolving over time. The most wondrous part of the installation is that it is rendered in realtime by artificial intelligence and is not pre-recorded or on loop. On top of that, as visitors interact with the installation, it causes ripple effect changes within the artwork where the flowers grow, bud, bloom, and eventually wither away and die in a neverending cycle.

 

Snarkitecture: Fun House, National Building Museum, Washington, D.C., U.S.
4 July to 3 September 2018

New York-based design studio Snarkitecture celebrated its 10th anniversary with a monumental installation at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C, as part of the institution's annual Summer Block Party series. The collective, which operates between art and architecture, created a free-standing white house-like structure in the soaring Great Hall to contain over 50 of its most memorable environments and objects over the years as well as new concepts developed exclusively for its first showing in the soaring Great Hall. The crowd favourite was the kidney-shaped pool full of antimicrobial balls that referenced Snarkitecture's 2015 The Beach installation that made its debut at the National Building Museum.

 

Gelatin: Vorm — Fellows — Attitude, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, the Netherlands
19 May to 12 August 2018

This show is literally shit. There were four giant piles of shit sitting on fancy Persian carpets in the 16,000 square feet museum space. They came in an assortment of shapes and sizes too: long and curly or pretty like a Hershey's Kisses. They were created using large plaster casts and then covered by hand in lots of brown clay by the Vienna-based art collective Gelatin. If the exhibition wasn't absurd enough, visitors were invited to get "nude" by adorning a skin-toned naked costume that featured a spectrum of male and female genitalia complete with body and pubic hair, all in the name of inclusivity.

 

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