In Art Basel Unlimited, Stephen Friedman Gallery is pleased to present a freestanding, interactive installation titled ‘Bataille' by Brazilian artist Rivane Neuenschwander. Neuenschwander is one of the most internationally renowned Brazilian artists of her generation. Her ephemeral practice draws on the history of Latin American conceptualism and explores the interplay between chance and order in everyday life.
‘Bataille' is an interactive installation that explores the power of words taken from protest banners and placards found on the internet. Created initially for the 2017 Lyon Biennale, and embroidered in French onto clothing labels, the resulting collection of words form a lexicon that breaks away from the context of mass protest.
‘Bataille' (meaning battle in French) captures the empowering and transformative power of language. The mottos of freedom, resistance, utopia and justice are pinned to a felt panel board, a subliminal reference to classroom blackboards. Wooden boxes containing the pins and labels are placed in front of the panel so visitors can re-compose and take away the labels or pin them to their clothes so that they too become message-bearers of political poetry.
As with much of Neuenschwander's practice, the work is imbued with influences from her native Brazil. Here, she references the oral tradition of impromptu poetry. Participants are invited to improvise and use words to transform an urban environment into a theatre of transgression and everyday political protest.