Gina Fischli

Out of the Box
Schaulager, Basel

Gina Fischli, Schloss Babelsberg, 2019

10.06.2023 - 19.11.2023

Gina Fischli is one of the artists included in the group exhibition OUT OF THE BOX which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the opening of Schlaulager, Basel and features the work of over 24 artists, including David Claerbout, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Peter Fischli, Katharina Fritsch, Robert Gober, Rodney Graham, Gary Hill, Martin Honert, Klara Lidén, Dieter Roth, Thomas Ruff, Anri Sala, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, Dayanita Singh, Monika Sosnowska, Jane & Louise Wilson and others.

Several works of Fischli's are included in the show including Schloss Babelsberg (2019) and Mr. Shoulders (2022).

The artist has a penchant for clichés from the domestic environment and transforms objects of popular culture into stumbling blocks with an off-beat sense of humor. She sees the experience of the artist, who wants to be productive and has to exhibit, as a painful symptom of our consumer society: we are most capable of exploiting know-ing and not knowing to shape desires and to profit from the process at the same time. The appearance of amateurish perfectionism wrested from the cake sculptures is a sharp criticism of the concept of “survival of the fittest,” which is also a factor in the competitive world of art.

OUT OF THE BOX - the title of the exhibition exemplifies the idea that underlies Schaulager, which was founded in 2003 with the idea of combining the storage and presentation of contemporary art. Even when the works of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation are not on view in exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Basel or in other museums all over the world, they are neither packaged nor boxed but rather installed at Schaulager. To this end, the Laurenz Foundation planned and realized an unprecedented type of building in collaboration with the internationally renowned architectural offices of Herzog & de Meuron. Not only has this visionary idea inspired many other institutions, Schaulager itself has become a well-established institution for international research, storage and exhibition space. The title of the exhibition, OUT OF THE BOX, points to the enduring relevance of Schaulager’s founding concept.

OUT OF THE BOX also draws attention to the steadily evolving parameters of contemporary art. “Box,” here interpreted as a synonym of “room,” refers to a fundamental aspect of contemporary art. The room in which artists present their time-based works is crucial and incorporated into the process of making them; they cannot be shown, cannot exist, without a room; the room impacts the work even though the moving images that we see are immaterial and consist for the most part only of digital data confined to a storage device. Being intrinsic to the work, the room is carefully defined and adapted to meet the work’s requirements each time it is presented. Being custom-made, such rooms are singular much like a bespoke garment. Accordingly, larger and smaller boxes are placed throughout the exhibition with areas and passages opening up between them. The display of OUT OF THE BOX thus affords various views of and through the largest box of all, Schaulager itself.

The exhibition presents large-format, time-based works alongside with other most recent acquisitions of the Emanuel Hoffmann Foundation. Some of them will be on public view in an institutional exhibition for the first time. Thus, a diversity of video, films, sculptures, paintings, drawings, and photographs will be shown throughout the two spacious and expansive levels of Schaulager.

- Text by Schaulager, Basel