WAS MIR GEFÄLLT, St. Johanns-Vorstadt 33, Basel. By appointment +41 76 370 63 23 or just drop in.

The project concept ARENA FOR A TREE for Punta della Dogana, Venice, is currently on display parallel to the exhibition “Time Space Existence” at Palazzo Mora, which runs until November 26 as part of the Architecture Biennale in Venice.

Designed for Punta della Dogana, this project presents a floating platform with a round wooden structure. At first glance, the ARENA FOR A TREE appears as an inverted dome or a budding nutshell, approaching closer, you’ll discover a fusion of architecture, sculpture, and stage within the Ark. Inspired by the annual rings of a tree, its horizontal design invites visitors to occupy three rows, granting them anoptimal view of the center. This time ARENA FOR A TREE will present three bald cypresses (Taxodium distichum). Hardy and tough, this tree adapts to a wide range of soil types, whether wet, salty, dry, or swampy.


Klaus Littmann’s new open space at St. Johanns-Vorstadt, Basel

The room is simple, it has high ceilings, it extends into a back room and remains visible through the window around the clock. Klaus Littmann will use it to humbly confront the superlatives of the art world. Because the collective experience of locally developed art is not the only tool with which the artist and initiator insists on surprise, insight and emotions in an urban setting. The interior promises more intimate reflections and the luxury of wordless dialogue – with things that touch on memory; with sketches that share visionary ideas; every now and then with a work that does not want to first mention the outstanding achievements of an artist’s life, but wants to wrest a different way of calculating time, humour and sensuality from everyday life.

Who defines how many exhibits make up an “exhibition”? Who determines the boundary between “objet trouvé” and fine art, between purpose and poetry? If every internationally oriented show in Basel had to measure the assertion of relevance and sustainability by its own ecological footprint, museums and galleries would have closed long ago. If the rhetoric of assertion of the most important, youngest and most innovative artist were to be measured against nature, cultural diversity would evaporate in no time. Why not just determine what you like? Klaus Littmann’s new open space at St. Johanns-Vorstadt does not allow itself to be dictated to. It is not preceded by any consensus-oriented commission or group work nor by a project description with a financing plan. Instead, What I like scans the city’s cabinets of wonder for private treasures and isolates phenomena of nature as an attraction. In addition, the door is open for insight into emerging cultural projects. Small and simple, without any annual planning or standardized wording, the room becomes a manifesto of independence, a discreet enhancer of poetic intelligence, a stopover in the marathon of cultural reception, the defence of an exclusivity that distances itself from high-priced status symbols.

What I like is neither a gallery nor an artist-run space. The profit generated by the room will not be reflected in numbers, but in mental credit, as can only be accumulated by a subjective selection. It manifests itself as the trust of accomplices and lenders and in the respect of a public, which also occurs in the encounter of individuals.

Isabel Zürcher, October 2023

more about WHAT I LIKE, 2023/24