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Art Basel 2018 : The power of silent Conversations.

By Danié Gómez-Ortigoza

January 8, 2019

Art Basel has always been the highlight of my year, and as every yearly event, it serves as a point of reference to acknowledge my personal transformation. When I first went to Basel, as a journalist covering for Glamour, I wanted to see everything, and be everywhere, paying special attention to everything fashion-related. I would go everywhere alone, so I could people-watch as much as possible. As much as I’ve always loved art, it was more about living the city I had recently moved to.

Danie Gomez Ortigoza

The following year, it was all about art. I wanted to understand it better. Some artists seem to know secret things, and I wanted to know why. I went to every single fair, and spent a considerable amount of time studying what I saw. The following year, it was a mix of both experiences.

Miami Art Week 2018 for me was all about conversations: first of all, the conversations I had during my first installation at RAW Pop Up as I braided dozens of people sharing mirror conversations, (which I will share with you on a different post), and the ones I had as I strolled through the different fairs and events.

I spoke to Mario Botta, the Swiss Architect behind some of the most iconic buildings of our time, about his view on the architecture of life. There was such serenity in his words, and his experience. He created a space for La Prairie, that was an interactive wooden architectural sanctuary at the Convention Centre, were art is often so untouchable, and distant.

I also loved my conversation with Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione during a lunch that was part of the celebration of ‘What Comes Around Goes Around’, the second-hand luxury store founded in New York in 1993. They took over the iconic Versace Mansion (The Villa Casa Casaurina), and gave a very special group, the most fantastic tour of the property. Their art is in the way they collect, value and sell objects with a past.

Later, and surrounded by the an international roaster of Four Seasons Artisans, including Daniel Boulud, Mauro Colagreco, Chris Ford, Nicolas Lambert and Master Mexican Mixologist Fatima de Leon among many others, I spent one evening aboard the Kismet at the Four Seasons Pop-Down.
To be honest, there weren’t that many conversations on-site. But the understanding of all the different possibilities when it comes to finding your art, while watching all the top food-artisans in the world in one space doing their craft dancing to the rhythm of great music, was amazing. Often, silence can connect you in ways words can’t.

Which brings me to the one image that I can’t take off my head. You know how usually when we see a piece, or a performance, there is a dialogue inside our head? For the first time mine was was silent, and my heart stopped as I walked by, in contemplation of Emilio Rojas, during his performance of “Open Wounds (To Gloria)” at Spinello Projects FREE! art fair. Emilio was there, lying fully naked with a 22-inch scar created by tattoo artist Angel Garcia. The line mimics the shape of the US-Mexican border, without using ink, made from Emilio Rojas first vertebra to his last. The tattoo is reopened each year as long as the borders continue to bleed.

Open Wounds (To Gloria) by Emilio Rojas at Spinello Projects FREE! art fair/ Brickell City Centre

Nothing can equal that experience of depth, feeling and using your body as the instrument to create art. For me it was the realization that what I love the most about art is that behind every piece there is so much silence, in a time where noise is a constant. Artists have the opportunity to listen to their minds. Opportunities to create. Space. Solitude.

Yes. When we buy art, we might just be buying the materialization of the greatest commodity of our time.

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