18.06.15 – 21.06.15
Statements with Raphael Hefti
Booth N1, Hall 2.1

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RaebervonStenglin presents a new site-specific project by Raphael Hefti. The young Swiss artist is interested in repurposing industrial processes to pursue unconventional ends, pushing both his processes and materials to the max. For Art Basel Statements 2015, Hefti will bring a 7 tonne, state-of-the-art CNC milling machine to the booth.
Built in a quiet village in the Swiss Jura, the machine is used to produce extremely fine metal machine parts by an international clientele for everything from fine art sculpture to advanced weapons systems components and aerospace. Hefti brings this hulking and incredibly precise machine into the context of the art fair, a place where production is normally absent, and programs it to perform its work of milling solid aluminum. This machine-based performance will consist of the reduction of blocks of the solid aluminum to nothing. The work poses questions about the relationship between art production, high-tech industry, and the terms of materials and spectatorship for each.
The programmed milling momentarily creates sculptural forms, visible through the viewing window of the machine, and also via a live feed to external monitors from cameras the artists has placed inside the working chamber. These shapes and forms will exist only for a moment, broadcast as an image between the swiveling, grinding axis of the milling head, and the flat screen TV monitors, before disappearing into a pile of shavings and pellets in the machines excretory chambers. 
Over a century ago in 1912, Marcel Duchamp attended an aviation fair with Constantin Brancusi. Browsing the fair’s booths, much as visitors will do soon at Art Basel, Duchamp was rumored to have remarked: ‘who can do better than this propeller?’ upon viewing a deconstructed engine. All this time later, Hefti offers an answer in the form of an elision. Rather than simply presenting the finished results that one can achieve with these complicated machines, he turns the viewers attention to the performative and diminutively spectacular choreography of its process. By exchanging the context of the machines normal operating environment for the fair booth, these normally unseen, and time-based images of work are brought into visibility. As well, there’s a destabilizing of the entire context of the fair’s architecture. For a week in June the Messe hosts thousands of significant works of art. However during the rest of the year, watches, boats, and even related high-tech machines present themselves in this fair style. The artist makes a gesture that sits uneasily between these worlds, creating both visual product, and technical example. This leads us to new insight about the role of precision industry in producing our common experience and aesthetics.

Born 1978 in Biel-Bienne, Switzerland, Raphael Hefti is an artist based in London and Zurich. He received his MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2011. His recent solo exhibitions include: ‘OR OR OR ?’, Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève, Geneva, Switzerland (2015); ‘Raphael Hefti’, Nottingham Contemporary, Nottingham, UK; ‘Raw Draw’, RaebervonStenglin, Zürich, Switzerland (all 2014); ‘Nature More’, CAPC, Bordeaux, France (2013); ‘Inside the White Cube’, White Cube, London, UK; ‘Launching Rockets Never Gets Old’, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK (both 2012). His group exhibitions include: ‘Pleas-urePrinciples‘, Fondation Lafayette, Paris, France (2014); ‘Flex-Sil Reloaded’, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen, Switzer-land; ‘Quick Fix Remix’, Ancient & Modern, London, UK; ‘No one lives here‘, Royal College of Art, London (all 2013); ‘ Minimal Myth’, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands; ‘La jeunesse est un art’, Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau, Switzerland; ‘Straight Up’, Familiy Business, New York, US (all 2012); ‘How to work (more for) less’ Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland; ‘How to work’, Kunsthalle Basel, Basel, Switzerland (both 2011) and ‘The sun is the tongue, the shadow is the language’, Ancient & Modern, London, UK (2010). In 2014 there was the inauguration of his roof as a permanent art installation at the new museum Fondation Vincent Van Gogh in Arles.

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