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Retrospective Italian art meets John Malkovich as Marilyn Monroe at this photo fair.

Sometime next week, you can sit in an al fresco cafe in one of Basel's quaint streets without worrying about getting a free table. This week, forget about it.

From Jun. 11 to 16, Basel becomes alive not just with Art Basel but because its 80+ museums and galleries have their own special exhibits. This doesn't include the niche fairs that cater to certain types of art that are scattered all over the city.

Photo Basel, for example, is in the full swing of things, going strong on its fifth year.

Held at Volkshaus Basel, the event is the first international fair in Switzerland specific to photography-based art. Thirty-eight galleries and four publishers from different parts of the world including London, Berlin, Zurich, and Amsterdam take over 1,200 sqm. to showcase both classic prints from Patrick Demarchelier, Irving Penn, and Rankin and newer works from the avant-garde artists.

Meg Ryan by Patrick Demarchelier

A special collector's exhibit in Photo Basel presents the works of Italian photographer Mario Giacomelli. The photojournalist is one of the pioneers when it came to humanist photography and is one of the first Italian photographers to gain international recognition.

Kate Moss by Rankin

Other works that catch the curiosity are 'Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich: Homage to Photographic Masters' by Sandro Miller. The photographs are re-creations of iconic images (such as Andy Warhol's diptych of Marilyn Monroe) that influenced Miller's career with actor John Malkovich.

Photo Basel, throughout the week, also hosts various talks with participating photographers and also hosted the announcement of winners of the CAP Prize: The Contemporary Prize for African Photography.

The art fair then serves as an incubator for various photography pursuits and also seems to be setting the trend when it comes to other photography exhibits.

Of note is their online store that helps the fair stay alive after the event is done. Sven Eisenhunt, founding director of Photo Basel explains to us: 'We are one of the fairs that started with this online store where we ask all the participating galleries to give us two works for sale. One has to be lower than CHF 2,500 because we want to help the audience to be in touch year round and not just this week.'

There are many reasons to visit Switzerland but early June is indeed its high time for art lovers and professionals when every little corner of this art and museum capital welcomes worlds of possibilities.

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Publication:Philippines Daily Inquirer (Makati City, Philippines)
Date:Jun 14, 2019
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