From what point does the contemporary begin? Which documents say what? Where does my body belong? Will I come back? At the heart of the questions that shape Ruth Buchanan’s exhibition Heute Nacht geträumt at Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart is the desire to reconsider the paradigms under which museums might function today.
Museums have been asked to be many things over the centuries: they have housed artworks bought, gifted, and stolen; they have been institutions of beauty, pain, and inspiration. In many ways, they have been one of the spheres that combine the complexity of what it is to be a human in the world and a participant in the systems that form this same world.
At the center of Aotearoa New Zealand artist Ruth Buchanan’s practice are the spatio-political dimensions of organisational systems. She brings this lens to the Kunstmuseum Basel by deep-diving into its contemporary holdings. The collection, the building, the exhibition history, all become part of an engine of research that produce a reflection of the procedures that have shaped this institution. Buchanan’s museum-wide installation spans captioning systems all the way through to architectural intervention, encouraging a rethinking of how we participate in and shape public life.