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Darkness Falls as Hans and Cyprien Rise

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2nd Oct 2008

Saturday, 16 June 2007

Of the many artists that appear annually at Art Basel, only a handful are selected for installations at Art Unlimited, a concurrent show that offers large installation opportunities and a premium showcase for artists. Two of this year's best were right next to each other - the sculptural installation Merry-go-round (2) by Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck and the three part video piece Desniansky Raion, by Parisian artist Cyprien Gaillard.

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Hans op de Beeck: Merry-go-Round 2
Hans has his hands full with a range of artistic projects, and Merry-go-round typifies his work in taking abstract normality and creating meaning around it. The walk-through installation attracted lines of people who would step into another world, a winter scene of dark childhood memories and eerie music that transport the crowds into another world. It's magic.

An even stronger statement is made in the work of Cyprien Galliard, who specializes in the emerging field of land art, and uses three videos to question much about humanity, life and death. The first segment of the video shows two gangs fighting in a housing project outside St. Petersburg. Like an epic savage scene in a Hollywood film, the groups come together and pummel each other, but the sickening fact is that it is all real, not Hollywood. The second scene in the video is a static view of a housing project with a beautifully numbing sequence of music, lights, fireworks and strobes that ends in the demolition of the building. Almost surprising, it engenders feeling for structures not often seen.

Cyprien is one of the youngest artists showing at Art Unlimited. Born in 1980, his view on the world is fresh, youthful and slightly worrying - but really relevant -art with a message. Hans meanwhile reflects a more Gen X view of the world, slightly quirky and open to exploration - art for the sensory sake of art.