14 Rooms

Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel will present 14 Rooms, a major live-art exhibition to be staged in Basel from June 14 to 23, 2014. Curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, the exhibition will feature performative works by artists including Marina Abramović, Allora and Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Damien Hirst, Otobong Nkanga, Roman Ondák, Santiago Sierra, and Xu Zhen. With an overall exhibition design by Herzog & de Meuron, 14 Rooms is a collaboration between Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel.


Curators Klaus Biesenbach, Director of MoMA PS1 and Chief Curator at Large at The Museum of Modern Art, and Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects at the Serpentine Gallery, have invited 14 international artists to each activate a room, exploring the relationship between space, time and physicality with an artwork whose ‘material’ is a human being. Giving visitors an insight into a more performative and interactive practice, visitors will encounter a new situation within each of the 14 rooms, engaging in a diverse series of immersive and intimate experiences.


Conceived specifically for Basel, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Otobong Nkanga will create new works for the show. Alongside these world premieres, historical and rarely seen works by acclaimed artists from around the world will be brought to Basel.


14 Rooms will include Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla’s Revolving Door (2011), in which a group of performers spontaneously form a line and begin to rotate around the room in a circular motion, sweeping up visitors as they move around the space.


In his exploration of social boundaries and socio-cultural inequalities, Santiago Sierra places a succession of war veterans, from varied past conflicts, standing facing one corner of a 5-5-meter room and instructed to only move from their post once solemnly replaced by another veteran mimicking the changing of the guard.


Damien Hirst’s largely unkown early work Hans, Georg(1992), consisting of a rotating cast of identical twins sitting below two of his own identical dot paintings, will be restaged at the show.

Marina Abramović’s Luminosity (1997) places a performer on a bicycle seat fixed onto a wall bathed in harsh light, exploring themes of loneliness and spiritual elevation.


Roman Ondák’s Swap (2011) asks a performer to choose an object as they sit behind a table, and when visitors enter the room they are then able to swap the object with anything else they are willing to exchange, while in Chinese artist Xu Zhen’s In Just a Blink of an Eye (2005) a body floats in midair as if frozen, defying both time and gravity, and making the audience question reality and reflect on the work’s seeming impossibility.


Originally commissioned as 11 Rooms by Manchester International Festival, the International Arts Festival Ruhrtriennale 2012–2014 and Manchester Art Gallery, the project was shown as 11 Rooms at Manchester International Festival in July 2011, as 12 Rooms at the International Arts Festival Ruhrtriennale 2012–2014 and as 13 Rooms by Kaldor Public Art Projects at Pier 2/3 in Sydney’s Walsh Bay in April 2013. For each edition, the artists list partially changed.

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