Joseph Marioni: Contemplation Room, Art Basel
 Special Installation at the Art Unlimited Pavilion

Jun. 8 - 14, 2009



Joseph Marioni exhibited a special installation at the Art Unlimited pavilion of the 2009 Basel Art Fair. A reception was held on Monday, June 8th.

Marioni has conceived this special project as a model for painting environments that he proposes to create in specific public and private spaces. The unique element in Marioni's vision is that his paintings will be created on site and in an encounter with the natural light of each location. Each Marioni "Contemplation Room" will belong to its special environment.

This presentation of the "Contemplation Room" is dedicated to Ernst Beyeler in recognition for his support of Joseph Marioni's work. 

Artist Statement

A dedication to Ernst Beyeler

In the summer of 2001, Beyeler Galerie organized a two part exhibition on modern painting, titled Classics and Classics Now. The Classics installation included 16 artists from Monet to Rothko; the Classics Now installation, about the on-going development of modern painting in the 20th Century, included 10 artists from Stella to myself.

Earlier that year I had been introduced to Mr. Beyeler, who, I was told, was looking for the most current modern painter to include in the Classics Now part of the exhibition. At that time, there was a Rothko exhibition at the Foundation. Part of our discussion centered around the development of light in painting and its relationship to Rothko.

I suggested that Rothko belonged to the end of the Romantic tradition. The light in his paintings hovers at the very edge of closure. This is most evident in the late dark paintings from the mid 1960's in which the viewer's attention is held by the fear that the light will disappear. Rothko's dread evokes those famous lines by Dylan Thomas: "Do not go gentle into that good night, old age should burn and rave at close of day; rage, rage against the dying of the light."

I, on the other hand, belong to a generation involved in a new vision of an expanding global world. In my paintings, I seek to celebrate the materiality of light and demonstrate a satisfaction in engaging my surrounding environment. Mr. Beyeler responded, "Yes, I can see the difference," and offered to include me in the exhibition.

The following year, the Beyeler Foundation mounted a major exhibition on Monet and Modernism that comprised a selection of works from 1910 to 2002. This exhibition engaged the materiality of Modern painting and demonstrated the developing division between Drawing and Color.

My dedication of this room to Ernst Beyeler is both in recognition of his support for my work and also for his achievement in helping to preserve Modern art in the second half of the 20th Century. His interest has demonstrated a unique and rare understanding of the aesthetic value of controlled conditions for the seeing of painting. The task of Modern

painting is to "see the difference"and Mr. Beyeler has made it possible to do just that. Art History is in his debt.