Home Arts The artist hits the gym as the mercury rises in Basel

The artist hits the gym as the mercury rises in Basel

by godlove4241
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It may be 30 degrees outside, but the sweatiest attendees at the Unlimited opening at Art Basel were surely the performers of Augustas Serapinas Ciurlionis Gymnasium (2023). For the piece, a group of toned participants — including the artist himself — practiced with workout equipment that uses plaster artwork instead of regular weights. Named after the Lithuanian university from which Serapinas graduated in 2013, the work draws parallels between the repetition that art school students endure copying models to develop their technical skills, and that art enthusiasts gym do by lifting weights to build muscle.

The work is a feat of endurance, the first performance in the full five hours of Unlimited’s opening; 30-minute performances will take place over the next five days of Art Basel. “The weights are between three and eight kilograms,” Serapinas tells us halfway through, pausing briefly to answer our burning questions. He says he trains “four times a week” before taking a look at his big biceps to show off the fruits of his labor.

“No wonder he has such good legs,” remarks a visitor. “He also works with huge ice sculptures; it’s probably a great job too,” adds Berlin dealer Justin Polera. This work has already been presented at Frieze London 2016; over the next seven years, Serapinas rose to esteem in the art world and was the youngest person to exhibit at the Venice Biennale in 2019. Her work is now presented by Tschudi and Apalazzo; Serapinas is represented by Emalin Gallery.

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