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This year at Art Basel, Japanese artist Tadashi Kawamata was commissioned to create an installation for Messeplatz, the main square within the annual fair. Kawamata, known for his use of reclaimed materials and scrap wood, created Favela Café.
The café consists of 18 huts grouped on and around the Messeplatz fountain, connected by walkways. The installation provides seating, as well as fully operating cafés and bars for Basel visitors this week.
After its doors close on June 16, Art Basel will donate the structure for use as a bar and restaurant with a community garden. The new location of the structure will be within the Basel area harbor.
Tadashi Kawamata was born on the Japanese island of Hokkaido in 1953. He represented Japan at the Venice Biennale in 1982, and since then has taken part in Documenta VIII and IX and exhibitions across the globe, achieving high acclaim in Europe and around the world. Kawamata’s work transcends the art context and extends to fields such as architecture, city planning, history, sociology and communication. Kawamata sets about building new and unusual structures, like a bridge between an apartment block and a museum, or slum dwellings constructed in a picturesque park. Kawamata’s aim is to turn these environments inside out, and present the viewers with a completely fresh view of their surroundings.