Art Meets Science in Semiconductor’s Ingenious Installation at Basel

Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, better known as the artist duo Semiconductor, will this week unveil their installation, HALO, at Art Basel. Commissioned by Audemars Piguet, the large-scale artwork is the result of the pair’s inspiring residency at CERN.

Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet

Created in collaboration with guest curator Mónica Bello, the head of arts at CERN and the first curator of the European Laboratory for Particle Physics, the installation is designed to tell the story of how matter first came into existence. On stepping inside a cylindrical structure within a darkened room, visitors will find themselves surrounded by millions of animated and illuminated data points collected from the collisions observed via the ATLAS detector – a particle-physics experiment run within the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. A multi-layered soundscape generated by the data will also envelop viewers, who are encouraged to sit, lie or stand within this unique space.

Semiconductor (Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt) with guest curator Mónica Bello (centre). Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet

“It requires a lot of your physical senses: you’re seeing it, feeling it, hearing it. We hope people get a feeling of the scope of the universe from that,” say Jarman and Gerhardt. “We’re interested in the idea of the sublime – man going into nature and feeling overwhelmed.”

ATLAS detector. Courtesy of CERN

Influenced by the immersive architectural installations of Richard Serra and the powerful ways in which members of the Arte Povera movement used raw materials to narrate stories, Semiconductor’s work raises questions about the relationship between art and science, the natural and the man-made. As Bello explains, “HALO presents us with the sublime: an encounter with the fundamental aspects of nature, at once overwhelming, awesome and alluring.”

Courtesy of the artist and Audemars Piguet

Five more inspiring exhibits to see at Art Basel
1. Basilea by Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Recetas Urbanas (2018). Incorporating a collectively built structure, a large-scale installation and various workshops and events, this participatory artwork located on Basel’s Messeplatz encourages residents and visitors to reflect on the way citizens interact with public spaces.
2. Egg by Carol Bove (2018). Shown by David Zwirner gallery, this is the largest sculpture the New York-based artist has ever produced. Designed using materials sourced in in shipyards and scrap-metal yards, the artwork required the construction of a 100-tonne press strong enough to work with the steel tubing.
3. S-Curve for St. Gallen by Dan Graham (2001). Shown as part of the Unlimited programme, which provides a platform for projects that go beyond the format of the traditional art-show stand, this enormous pavilion made from two-way mirror, wood and steel produces distorted reflections that involve visitors in the voyeuristic pursuit of looking at themselves and others.
4. This whole time there were no land mines by Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2018).On display within the Statements section of the fair, which supports emerging artists, this video installation by the Beirut-based artist uses found mobile-phone footage and sound recordings made during a 2011 breach of the Israeli-Syrian border.
5. Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) by Lara Favaretto (2018). The Italian artist, who is represented by Galleria Franco Noero, has compressed masses of paper confetti into brightly coloured cuboid-shaped sculptures whose apparent solidity is at odds with the fragility of the raw material used to build them.

See also
Designer Travel

Art Basel 2018 runs from 14 to 17 June. See HALO by Semiconductor, the 4th Audemars Piguet Art Commission in collaboration with guest curator Mónica Bello, in Hall 4, Messeplätz, Basel.

From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK