After a frenzied rush to get VIP passes into the exclusive Art Basel lounge, I sat back and observed my surroundings. The place reeked of money. However, in the light of day (and with no celebrity in sight) it was less about self indulgence and more about passionate collecting.
It was a family affair. Grandchildren were dragged behind their parents and grandparents, while the discussion of heirlooms subtly floated in the air. Names like Gagosian, Deitch, and Perrotin sat in the “corridor of power” while younger galleries now also had an opportunity to shine inside the convention center.
I was seated in an odd red chair and I kept getting asked to move so that photographers could take pictures of the two “ladies” seated across from me. Their clothes matched the chair as if they had been placed there as part of the exhibit.
After being asked to move for the millionth time from my seat so that they could be photographed, I decided to chat with them to see just who they were. Eva and Adele, German artists that were as colorful as their outfits. When I asked about their work, Eva quickly pulled out a Blackberry Storm and adeptly began showing me what has been 20 years of collaboration with Adele.
She explained to me that 20 years ago, they had met as independent artists and decided to collaborate on works based on their appearance and gender. Seeing that they looked quite similar, I asked them the chicken and the egg question. Were they inspired by their appearance to create this evocative art, or did the years and the evolution of their art inspire their look that now made them mirror images of one another. They didn’t really reply. Whether they were soul mates destined to spend their lives creating their story on canvas or their lives were directed by their art was a question that went unanswered. Regardless, their vision and voice was as one.
Either way, in the art world they were certainly celebrities. They weren’t the flashy, entourage toting, bodyguard following, demanding kind, but the subtle kind– happy to share their story and their art or contently sit on a chair and absorb their atmosphere, and of course pose for the occasional paparazzo.