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Basler Zeitung Sept. 10, 2021
by Julie Gisi
A gallery is moving in again at Bäumleingasse 9
In the footsteps of Ernst Beyeler?
Art therapist Cyril Kazis is setting up a new art space in the back of the building, where the Beyeler Gallery used to be. In terms of content, however, he wants to take a different direction than the co-founder of Art Basel did back then.
Bäumleingasse 9 – for art philistines an address like any other, for art lovers an important place: once upon a time, the legendary Basel art collector Ernst Beyeler ran his gallery here, cultivated personal contacts with artists such as Picasso or Giacometti and traded their valuable works. Then, just over a year after Beyeler’s death in 2010, the gallery closed. It made way – as part of an interim use – for offices, studios, fashion stores and also a wine bar. Now art is returning. At least partially.
Cyril Kazis’ Praxis Art Gallery has moved into the back building. It, too, is only present temporarily and as part of the interim use. But Kazis, a graphic designer and art therapist from Basel, wants to create a new place for the love of art in the historic building, which officially belongs to the city of Basel, as he himself says. However, he will not limit himself to fine art of classical modernism, as Beyler once did: “It should be much more of a meeting place, where pictures are sometimes combined with music, dance or literature,” says the gallery owner.
Contract runs until the end of 2022
As an art therapist, he himself has already shared the rooms that will soon become an exhibition venue with a Tai Chi studio for three years. “From August, the opportunity arose to take over all these rooms alone.” Indefinitely. “Because it’s an interim use, I signed a contract until the end of 2022 for now,” Kazis said. Because the city has repeatedly extended the interim use period in the past, however, it is still uncertain whether that will be the end of the line, he said. “But this uncertainty also has something adventurous about it,” he says enthusiastically.
But what kind of art can one expect at Bäumleingasse 9 from now on? The Dutch artist Noah Latif Lamp will kick things off. Starting on September 16, his exhibition “Killing Time” will be on view for four weeks. Kazis is not revealing too much about it yet. But this much is clear: Lamp wants to hold up an emotional mirror to visitors with his paintings, sculptures and installations. “This reflection can also become unpleasant, even provocative,” says Kazis.
In addition to this project, the Biel-based collective Lumpen Station will be conducting live radio art shows on the second floor of the building from September 16 to 26. A pop-up store by prêt-à-porter for art supplies will also sell yellow vests to create yellow forms in public spaces.
Fascination with Art Brut
In the future, Kazis plans to incorporate his connection to art therapy into his gallery’s exhibitions. In this context, he is particularly fascinated by “art brut,” that is, art that defies any cultural or social conformity. The term was created in the 20th century by Jean Dubuffet. “For the most part, the artists were people who made art just for themselves and lived in complete isolation,” Kazis says. “They were outsiders, loners or even patients of psychiatric hospitals.” They never even wanted their art to end up in an exhibition, but eventually it did. “That’s my fascination – I’d like to go in that direction with the gallery in the future, too,” says the gallery owner.
His passion for Dubuffet connects him with his predecessor at Bäumleingasse 9: Ernst Beyeler already had a close relationship with the artist. Over 750 of his works have been sold through Galerie Beyeler over the decades. Kazis: “The spirit of Dubuffet blows here at Bäumleingasse 9.”
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)