OVR: Basel took place last weekend, running concurrently to Art Basel’s physical fair in Switzerland. Here, Metis takes a look at our favourite works from young artists displayed at the OVR. Born between the late 80s to late 90s, the works from these artists are bold, thoughtful and illuminating — we’ll surely be keeping a close eye on them in the years to come.

Buhlebezwe Siwani

Soap, pigment and resin on canvas
140 x 350 cm

Inkanyamba (Zulu for snake), makes use of Siwani’s (b. 1987) characteristic material — sunlight soap. The soap’s vivid green hue brings to mind the artist’s South African heritage; the specific soap is a popular fixture in the country. The material is a reference to the idea of the Black body as something that is “dirty”, yet this is a notion subverted by the painting’s vigour, in which colour is its highlight, something vibrant and celebratory.

Martin Aagaard Hansen

Like a feverish feather
Oil and engraving on panel, wooden frame
75.5 x 38 cm
Union Pacific

Born in 1988, Hansen lives and works in Copenhagen. His work is inspired by memory, and melds personal encounters with ancient sagas and tales. His process includes the layering of materials, colours, figures and shapes in a continuous dance. The viewer has a sense of a world simmering beneath the canvas, the amorphous shapes and figures painted upon it rising and falling like the waves of a sea.

Louise Gagliardi

Follow the White Rabbits
Gel medium, ink on PVC
Galeria Dawid Radziszewski

The works of Swiss artist Gagliardi (b. 1989) are vivid and hallucinatory, the “white rabbits” alluded to here an apt reference to the old children’s novel, where Alice enters into a Wonderland where everything appears similar to the “real world” she has left, yet is somehow stranger. The familiar is seen through an otherworldly lens, an effect achieved by the artist’s use of colour and depth, the melding of digital and physical mediums. The result is surreal, mildly disconcerting yet entrancing.

Bendt Eyckermans

Upon seeing at a distance the pavilion…
Oil and acrylic on linen
189 x 162 x 2.5 cm

We walk deeper into the uncanny with the work of millennial Eyckermans, who was born in Belgium in 1996. Coming from five generations of sculptors, Eyckermans’ work is distinctly contemporary, yet is weighted by a lingering spectre. Vivid illumination sculpts certain figures in the painting out of the darkness. What would otherwise have been a straightforward narrative is disrupted by the varying depths of colour and light, hinting at a deeper story, something running beneath the surface.

Emmanuel Louisnord Desir

Pigs and Jigs
Burnt Wood
129.5 x 67.9 x 0.6 cm
47 Canal

Photo: Joerg Lohse

We end with the youngest artist on our list, born in 1997 in New York City. Desir’s works mine the personal, the history of the diaspora, symbolism and Abrahamic narrative, culminating in energetic pieces that vibrate with history. The physicality of wood explores the intergenerational nature of Abrahmic belief and the diaspora, referencing through its burn marks and fissures the struggles passed from generation to generation. Yet it is the warmth of the same material that provides a semblance of hope and home, drawing deliverance out of the darkness.

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