Surprise Me – Miami Art Basel 2019

The trip to Miami for Miami Art Basel 2019 was a moment of reflection on my perception of art and what for me is Art in the new millennium in which we are immersed.

Strolling through the thousands of works on display in this spectacular Miami convention center space, you realize how, after thousands of years of man’s life on earth, the rules of the universe apply deeply even in this seemingly “unreal” world.

Creations that are the result of minds and thoughts “reconverted” into physical objects to be observed, the more or less conventional imaginations of many brains and their creativity, compose an Art Basel 2019 that more than an art fair, appears as the real place where dreams, nightmares, fascinations, deviations of human thought add up according to cosmic laws, apparently inscrutable around the black hole of the word Art.

Fluid, variable, uncontrollable, often built on inner pain or on one’s own obsessions, art is similar to human thought or perhaps it is human thought in the purest sense of the term, without social and religious limits and obstacles, which is “rendered” in more or less multimedia physicality.

If I had to think of a universal law that can tell the story of art from its origins to the present day, I would say that art is “surprise”, the ability to capture the viewer through any form of representation, which sets the object or installation in a mental place in which we identify it as special, surprising, reflective, emotional and that still shakes a part of our soul.

Art then as a place of “non-indifference”, as a place of surprise, of space, which for different reasons brings us closer to that artificial intelligence whose algorithms are slowly invading our lives.

Art is the activation of an “on/off” of the “surprise” effect, a parameter of our brain of which, in a certain sense, we still do not fully understand the reasons. The digital world, which in the meantime has prepared us to observe and see all that our mind can be capable of achieving, will soon perhaps be able to understand what our brains think could become art.

This is perhaps the secret I have captured in this Art Basel 2019 that will leave its mark on me: it has made me reflect on what, applied to everything I observe, makes me say whether what I see is art for me or not.

Of course I am nobody to say and understand, but the only element I can perceive when I dwell on an artistic composition, whatever its expressive form, is perhaps only that “Surprise me”.

I can put everything in it, and as also in this Miami Art Basel, from Abba’s record labels, to the banana sticking to Cattelan’s wall, to the more or less dreamy installations of young dreamy artists, those who have come to admire this mental world of the world’s creatives transformed into objects to buy and sell, come home with a single and incredible surprise effect, in which everyone has been able to elaborate and imagine what they wanted.

Among these, I also understand the reasons of gallery owners or so-called “art dealers” who, for better or for worse, feed the creative market with their economies and act as a fuse for a fire that would perhaps have no reason to exist without them.

After all, they are the reason for this spectacular staging, in which they invest for a personal benefit but at the same time they allow you to enjoy all these works in a single container.

Miami Art Basel is a museum of the near future, a place of the “next past”, a “non” museum that is the becoming of our time. Just as the stars, in our solar system, attract and repel each other with parabolic trajectories managed by the force of gravity, the artists of Miami Art Basel vibrate in a dissonant way, in a universe where Miami is the real black hole on which to capture with the electromagnetic force of imagination.

Big and small artists, who like stardust aggregate in side events connected to the Art Week, compile this incredible “surprise me” that is probably the key to the whole and that will probably soon be replaced by creative, self-thinking machines that will build the new art forms of the future.

And then, what’s going to matter most? The artist’s idea or the algorithm of a software capable of thinking by replicating our imagination? Who will decide what is art? A statistic, some art critics, or a social click? And how are we going to check if that art we see is real or not-human? If the author is a machine or a thought of a madman, or a true creative?

I don’t have the answers and I don’t want to find them and so, as art is born from a mystery that is our mind and materializes in something physical and transitory, I think that the “Surprise Me” is perhaps the only rational element that justifies its presence.

Through art we are able to go beyond ourselves and project ourselves into a virtual space that in the future will merge with the digital one, and perhaps only then will we return to excite ourselves by returning to a cave, by the light of a flame, drawing on the rock with a piece of coal.

From the caves in the mountains of Kalimantan , Borneo, the prehistoric art galleries with their drawings from 40 thousand years ago show that man needs art and art lives with it.

See you next year

Author: Audrey Tritto

Surprise Me|Miami Art Basel 2019 by Audrey Tritto

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