Thursday 15 June 2023 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Thursday. 15/6/2023

The Monocle Minute

Image: Art Basel


Larger canvas

Though many cutting-edge works are on display at Art Basel, the fair, which opens its doors to the public today, also has a rather traditionalist streak. Its list of exhibitors – of which there are 284 this year – tends to stay largely the same, as a coveted spot is a privilege that the big players don’t want to give up.

That’s why the arrival of 21 new galleries – some in the Feature and Statements subsections of the fair and others on the main trade-fair floor – is a notable development. It suggests that the fair is beginning to become more open to an international market that is now far broader than its historical Mitteleuropean core. The new joiners, from places as varied as Jakarta, Tbilisi, Mexico City and Mumbai, reflect an art market that is increasingly decentralised.

Works by artists from Africa or the African diaspora take centre stage at the fair’s Unlimited section, which is dedicated to large-scale works. Here, the cascading waves of Ghanaian artist Serge Attukwei Clottey’s installation “Sea Never Dries” (pictured), which weaves together pieces of yellow plastic containers into a luminous tapestry, welcome visitors with a burst of colour. It is flanked by Yinka Shonibare’s “The African Library”, a collection of books bearing the names of those who have fought for the continent’s independence.

The appetite for work from beyond the traditional art capitals is only growing. Art Basel’s decision to put it in the spotlight is as business savvy as it is culturally important.

Chiara Rimella is Monocle’s executive editor. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.


Talking liberty

Advocates of civil liberties and justice have descended on Norway this week for the Human Rights Foundation’s Oslo Freedom Forum. The three-day event, which closes today, is a platform that brings together opposition leaders, exiled journalists and survivors of oppressive regimes to discuss how to strengthen global freedom. “We put the dissidents on the stage and the people with the power to change the world in the audience,” Céline Assaf Boustani, president of the Human Rights Foundation, tells The Monocle Minute.

Outside the Oslo Konserthus is a poignant reminder of why they are here: a 1960s Iranian car covered in human hair donated by women from across the world (pictured) in support of Iran’s Woman, Life, Freedom movement, created by artist Simin Keramati. As well as Iran, most of this year’s discussions concern Russia and Ukraine. Delegates argue that a victory for Russia would legitimise the tactics of its oppressive allies. As Ukrainian MP Lisa Yasko says, “If events go one way or another, the architecture of international security and economy could change.”

For more on the Oslo Freedom Forum, tune in to ‘The Globalist’ on Monocle Radio at 07.00 London time.

Image: Shutterstock


Course correction

Airbus’s latest forecast report, released this week, predicts a boom in flying over the next 20 years. According to the plane manufacturer, global fleet deliveries will increase by 40,850 aircraft by 2042. Some of these aircraft will simply replace older models that remain in circulation due to supply-chain issues in the industry following the coronavirus pandemic – but 23,680 of the deliveries will be added to fleets worldwide.

The forecast predicts that the main buyers of new planes will be India, the fastest-growing aviation market, and China. The latter country has increased its domestic routes by 26 percentage points on its pre-pandemic levels and is currently developing its own single-aisle airliner in an effort to break the Airbus-Boeing duopoly. After several years of turbulence in the industry, the view from the cockpit is once again hopeful.

Image: Rail Baltica


Sleeper hit

Work on the high-speed Rail Baltica line (pictured) will go into top gear this year. The 870km electrified double-track line running between Warsaw and Tallinn is the largest railway infrastructure project in the history of the Baltic region. The project has been in the planning stages for years and the construction of the main line will soon be under way in all three Baltic countries. It will be a welcome addition to a region that is lacking in fast, convenient cross-border modes of transport.

The benefits might also be felt outside of the immediate region when Rail Baltica starts operating in 2030. Lithuania’s president, Gitanas Nauseda, has already suggested extending the line to Ukraine to support the war-ravaged nation’s rebuilding effort. For Finland, that provides an extra incentive: a mooted Rail Baltica tunnel between Helsinki and Tallinn would finally connect the Finnish capital to the continental European railway network.

Image: NeoCon


Inside jobs

Neocon, the US’s largest commercial interiors trade fair, wrapped up at The Mart in Chicago yesterday. The event, run by the owners of the former merchandise market – which is now home to hundreds of furniture showrooms – celebrates design for retail, hospitality and office spaces.

This year, Spain’s Andreu World (pictured) picked up a number of awards for its sofas and chairs. Along with other European brands such as Gaggenau, Poggenpohl and Kettal, it will be hoping to maintain the momentum: all have permanent showrooms in The Mart. According to Byron Morton, The Mart’s vice-president, the past 18 months have been a “great testament to the strength of the building”, with international brands aiming to tap into the US market choosing it as their base for growth and expansion.

Image: Rasmus Hjortshøj

Monocle Radio / Monocle On Design

3 Days of Design

We report from the 10th edition of Copenhagen’s 3 Days of Design festival, where we check out the latest offerings from sustainable material specialists Mater and meet the team behind design studio Atelier Axo. Plus: the home of interior designer Kim Grenaa.

Monocle Films / Food & Drink

Inside Portugal’s tinned-fish industry


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