April 2021 - ongoing
Dafna Maimon & Ethan Hayes-Chute, Sergio Rojas Chaves, Kelly Tissot
Samuel Leuenberger and Yann Chateigné Tytelman, in collaboration with Gabe Beckhurst Feijoo
Country SALTS proudly presents
Dafna Maimon & Ethan Hayes-Chute
Sergio Rojas Chaves
Country SALTS operates from a garden site located in Bennwil, Basel, known as Strickmatt. Operating alongside its sibling site––City SALTS in Birsfelden––Country SALTS explores the potential of connecting art to rural ways of life and creativity. Neighboring a Claudia Comte and Samuel Leuenberger's ecologically built living unit, and Comte's artist's studio, Country SALTS is set in a rich plot of vegetal life. If rurality offers a place of retreat for city-dwellers, the rural promotes living and working of another kind for those whose livelihoods depend on these environments. Holding these dual perspectives in mind, the 2021 program brings together views of country and city through its pairing with City SALTS.
After an a first group exhibition entitled This morning, in the sweet torpor of the great forest, is like every morning in the world, curated by Samuel Leuenberger and Claudia Comte in October 2020, Country SALTS' program will be collaboratively devised, hosting a constellation of guests, invited to contribute to the organic unfolding of its program. In close relationship with its context, it will be planned with the involvement of local communities for whom the immediate area is a space of both labour and love. As a preview of its coming seasons of programmings, and in conjunction with Art Basel, and Claudia Comte's Open Studio Day, Country SALTS proposes a triple invitation to artists with whom its curators envisage a long-term cooperation.
Occupying the center of the “stage”, Dafna Maimon (1982, Finland) and Ethan Hayes-Chute (1982,USA, both based in Berlin, GE) arranged a presentation of Camp Solong's functional structures related to their participative project, initiated in 2016. An experimental and nomadic, semi-fictional summer camp, Solong is based on “the inevitable, impending task of saying goodbye” – goodbye to usual habits, goodbye to campers at the end of the session... In and around an open-air, one-wall cabin structure, the annual six camper, chosen via open call, participate, in natural sites, in various activities, both critic and humorous, such as “Emotional Trashbinning”, “Solo Time-Traveling” or even “Poop-Talk”... In Country SALTS' space, the artists have displayed the camp's beds, along with a large sunset wall painting, that welcome a documentation and en ensemble of works that like fragments, tell the story of this intermittent heterotopia.
On his side, Sergio Roja Chaves (Costa Rica, lives in Basel, CH) focuses on the way plant and animal species are seen, used and represented by contemporary culture. Interested in ethnobiology, he started the making of a series of what he calls “portraits” of specific houseplants. Over the course of a year at Country SALTS, his investigation will connect botanical history research and narratives from individuals who live and interact with these species. Interviews are conducted and observations are made, and cumulate in order to compose, in the end, and crystallize in the form a series of publications. For this installment of his project, the artist is showing collages that act as the coming covers of these books that grow, in a way, in parallel to a group of the actual plants that are studied.
The work of Kelly Tissot (1995, France, based in Basel, CH) comes out of her exploration of the countryside's environment, material culture and organization. A sculptural approach to things, objects and pictures leads her to the realization of black and white images of animals, printed on aluminum, or machine-like fragments mechanics casted in resin or wood, that all refer to the violent and masculine unconscious of the rural world. Human figures are visually absent, but bodies are omnipresent – would it through forms of machines and prothesis, or signs of spatial or social control. Displayed in a cold, distant and repetitive way in the space, in relation with the forms they derive from and critic in the meantime, Tissot's menacing, yet mute objects reveal the dark politics of what exists outside the cities.
In addition with these three interconnected proposals, Country SALTS presents its newly refurbished library: in the meantime a collaborative collection of books and documents, as as a reading and convivial room dedicated to educational activities, it is also a site that will welcome specific artists' commissions, starting in 2022. For now, the library welcomes a selection of publications collected in relation with a growing network of correspondents, contributing in Country SALTS' investigation that aims to foster alliances between art, husbandry and agriculture.
Country SALTS 2021 – 22 program is curated by Samuel Leuenberger and Yann Chateigné Tytelman, in collaboration with Gabe Beckhurst Feijoo