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About BEKÍ

Baltimore City - Station North A&E District

Bekí Basch is an interdisciplinary artist who works in a project-based practice in which form is dictated by idea. She utilizes traditional processes and new media to create work that distills and connects universal monomythic traits from cultural, historical and social issues to create new narrative spaces. She has exhibited nationally and internationally in venues such as SÍM Gallery in Reykjavík, Iceland, The Burren College of Art in Ballvaughan, Ireland, Locust Projects in... more

SENNA

This work was inspired by research into the 1994 death of Brazilian racecar driver Ayrton Senna. His life and death have been a fascinating subject to many— from his media-hyped rivalries to conspiracy theories about his untimely crash. Senna was beloved by his country— a heroic figure who spoke about the spiritual experience of racing.

  • STATIONS OF THE CRASH

    Steel, plastic, shrink wrap, inkjet prints, Hello Kitty bandages, Bondo, concrete, rubber, car debris, nylon webbing. Sculptural manifestations alluding to car crashes, car culture, ritual and safety procedures.
  • STATIONS OF THE CRASH

    Inkjet prints, concrete, rubber. A couple of the panels from this installation. These are screenshots taken from the scene when Ayrton Senna was said to have passed. It is from a BBC documentary where a man claims to have felt Senna's spirit departing. In front of the right panel is a small concrete cylinder (resting on a thin slice of rubber), resembling a ritualistic water vessel, it is embossed with two logos perpendicular to one another, a shape close to that of a cross.
  • CONSTRUCTORS' CHAMPIONSHIP

    Inkjet print on paper. A smooth matte inkjet print constructed into a life-size papercraft winner's podium. The large scale and lack of support makes the fragile object cave under its own weight, creating dents and folds that resemble a car body. Every logo from the car in which Ayrton Senna was killed, is strewn about at random onto the surface- as if someone made a model car kit and added every sticker, but with no care for placement. The Constructors' Championship is an overall team award given in Formula 1 racing for superior vehicle construction.
  • LIMINAL VALUE

    Pigmented concrete, car mats, inkjet prints on paper. This installation focuses on the space between life and death as represented by works that represent a materially liminal space.
  • LIMINAL VALUE

    Pigmented concrete, car mats, inkjet prints on paper. Heavy concrete podiums are lightened with pigments and scaled down to a non-functional size, with embossed logos from Senna's car that relate them to gravestones. Their shape and placement on car mats also likens them to very crude car shapes. Hanging behind this podium is a pixelated screenshot from Senna's crash, pieced together with hundreds of sheets of paper and hung like a piece of fabric.
  • REMAINS

    Debossing on card stock in blue shadowbox frames 12"x12" From a series of 4, card stock is debossed with a logo synonymous with Ayrton Senna and F1 racing. As a celebrity can don a hat and give it iconic status we then associate with them— F1 vehicles are recognized by their unique designs made up of branding. Their placement in relation to certain features on a car shares a logic with tattoo placement.
  • CÈU AZUL / MAR AZUL

    22" x 40" each Two inkjet prints of light blue gradients with debossing. On one is an arrangement of logos placed loosely where they would be on Senna's vehicle, and the other is a sweeping array of the same logos as if they were blown off the paper. The gradients are also in slightly different directions. Each piece is framed by a common poster frame, enhancing the reflective aluminum in contrast to the clean, matte, almost non-existent image content.
  • CEU AZUL / MAR AZUL

    Athletes are often identified by their player numbers. Of the few logos selected to represent Senna's vehicle, '02' is at the tip. In an F1 team there are two drivers and their car are nearly identical, save for this number,
  • Williams Renault FW16 ESPIRITO / A BIT OF DEBRIS

    Inkjet print on paper, pigmented concrete. An image of Senna's last vehicle, printed on paper, then scanned back into the computer, then crumpled, run over by a truck, scanned back in and printed. This installation is accompanied by the two twin concrete podiums, reflecting both the dualities in life and the duality of life and death.

SALTJÖKULL

Inkjet prints.

A series of photos of the Baltimore downtown salt storage visible from the highway. The images are cropped into an ambiguous, yet iconic composition. The title imagines these mounds as naturally occurring landforms: salt glaciers. The images pay tribute to Roni Horn's interpretation of Iceland (viewing it as a reflection of the self- portrait style) while also re-thinking the exoticism often associated with a foreigner's vision of the country. This work was, instead, created upon return from Iceland as a way of finding the pieces of the landscape in my own surroundings. At the same time, it cannot be denied that the immense quantity of salt serves in opposition to an immense glacier (the salt is literally there to melt ice). Snæfellsjökull on the Snæfellsness peninsula is viewable on a clear day from Reykjavík, though it is 2.5hr driving distance away. Though the capital city is far cleaner than Baltimore, this view of the glacier is a comparative reminder of the purity and beauty of nature. The downtown salt mounds in Baltimore are a similar image of beauty and purity, whose visual space is entirely out of place amidst a backdrop of buildings and industry.

VISION QUEST LUNDI: FLUSH/FLOOD

VISION QUEST LUNDI: FLUSH/FLOOD is the second addition to the VISION QUEST LUNDI series, which began with an exhibition of VISION QUEST LUNDI: BALTIMORE at the Open Space Gallery in 2010. Here the term ‘vision quest’ aligns itself with a new age sensibility that brings together a smorgasbord of culture, religion and academics to find a spiritual framework which connects them all. The 'vision quest' being the journey one embarks upon in order to understand these connections and their value for one’s own life and for humanity at large. ‘Lundi’ is the Icelandic word for 'puffin'. Each part of the series focuses on a different stop or series of stops on a map. This particular map is both one of inner geography and one that fits like a glove to the universal hero’s journey- with an economy of space intended for that journey to take place upon it. VISION QUEST LUNDI: FLUSH/FLOOD concerns two of these stops in particular, and the theoretical route from one to another. While the goal of a hero’s journey is to successfully conquer each stage in order to attain a higher truth or capture a physical relic (and subsequently return home with it)- VISION QUEST LUNDI: FLUSH/FLOOD captures a liminal space where one may oscillate between the phases of looking outward for meaning and purpose and looking inward. On the accompanying map these are geographically presented as the complementary forms of a pier and a cave. FLUSH/FLOOD presents a dilemma and a possible answer: Through this constant oscillation, one may break through to the other side. A sort of transformation through sheer repetition. In this exhibition, aspects of Formula 1 racing and taiko drumming serve to express this situation.

  • FLOOD

    Marker and paint on burlap. FLUSH and FLOOD are complementary. As a pier (which juts out into the water) is complementary from a cave (which can accept a flow of water into itself), our bodies breathe in and breathe out. We flood with air, and flush carbon dioxide. These complementary situations are the rhythms that underscore everything. This flag is the emblem for 'FLOOD'.
  • FLUSH

    Marker and paint on burlap. FLUSH and FLOOD are complementary. As a pier (which juts out into the water) is complementary from a cave (which can accept a flow of water into itself), our bodies breathe in and breathe out. We flood with air, and flush carbon dioxide. These complementary situations are the rhythms that underscore everything. This flag is the emblem for 'FLUSH'.
  • Automated Physiology = Situation for Transcendence

    Rubberized paint, foam, cardboard, cotton, wood, rubberized toilet, submersible pump, rubber mouth nozzle, vinyl tubing, cat litter. In the sport of F1, a driver is not alone in their decision-making. An entire support team of highly knowledgeable and specialized professionals guide the process, well beyond the mere construction of the vehicle. A driver is yet another member of the team who is in charge of the human element. They are physically fit, mentally adept and meet other important qualifications. Every circuit Formula races on is different from the next.
  • Tools for Communal Transcendence

    Polyester, embroidery, PVC, tires, masking tape, packing tape, duct tape, steel, plastic. Cost-effective taiko practice drums are often made from car tires with packing tape wrapped tightly around to make a thumping hollow space. Single tires make nagado daiko, a sandwich of four tires make an o daiko and a wood block acts as a shime daiko. Backpacks and sling bags resembling both musical instrument transport luggage and spare tire covers are fashioned from strong utility fabrics.
  • Yuru-chara incense holder

    Cast iron on figurine mirror base. Inspired by Japanese mascots for products, campaigns and prefectures, this character is modeled after a Formula 1 racing tire and a Playmobil figurine, with the face of Sanrio's Rilakkuma. Its name is 'Taiya no tatsujin', which translates to 'tire master' and is borrowed from the Japanese claymation 'Taiko no tatsujin'— a claymation series about talking taiko drums. This iron cast was modeled first as a 3d print to precisely mimic those borrowed styles.
  • Transformation Through Repetition

    Claymation on vintage SONY television. This claymation is the origin story of the Flush/Flood mascot Taiya no tatsujin. A racecar goes around and around the track repetitively and from this energy sprouts a little tire god from one of the front wheels. The arms of the god jut out, causing the car to veer off track and crash into a concrete wall. The tire rolls off and smiles contentedly.
  • F/F Circuit Poster

    Inkjet print on paper. This fantasy F1 circuit is based on a bisected version of a map of the monomyth. The place which is mapped— also a creation of fantasy— functions as a stage for the hero's quest. Here, the outline of the map is imagined as a racetrack, as the hero drives their racecar through each checkpoint in order to receive/achieve the progress points, like a video game.
  • Constant Radius Corner Poster

    Inkjet print on paper. Named after a type of curve in an F1 track, these two constant radius corners are magnified in a separate details poster to hi-light the two stops of the hero's path that FLUSH/FLOOD oscillates between. As the driver goes around and around the track continuously, they hug the curves that geographically represent a pier and a cave. Opposite in their exterior/interior nature— the pier is a place from which to look out at the sea to the great beyond, while the cave is a space of natural deprivation, where one can be left alone with their thoughts.

REAPER

This series of photographs represent an array of objects and raw material arranged on a flat surface and photographed from above. The items selected for each composition represent contrasting qualities of physical texture and cultural value, which are pushed into the abstract realm as the photographic process blurs their defined boundaries and BLACK flattens their tactility. Ideas of value shift as the cheap poses for luxury and the natural becomes grotesque. This series was inspired by receiving a dead puffin as a gift.

  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"
  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"
  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"
  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"
  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"
  • REAPER

    Black and white copyshop print. 28" x 34"

COLORADO

A collaboration with artist Laura Hughes, for Locust Projects in Miami, FL. Living on opposite sides of the country, we used our personal interests and connection with the state of Colorado as a midpoint for collaboration and sharing experience. Using car culture as a thematic trend we both respond to, Laura fabricated objects inspired by car interiors that also mimic some simple aspects of the landscape and I created two small podiums as tributes to the French female racecar driver Michele Mouton, who won the 1985 Pike's Peak hill climb in an Audi Quattro S1. On the wall is a large mylar banner that has the word 'RACE TO THE CLOUDS' cut out of it. This is the nickname for the Pike's Peak climb. Also, thinking about the detritus that gets stuck between seat cushions during a road trip, we took walks during our install time, where we collected street litter, including club bracelets, a lighter, cigarette stubs, foil and chipped car reflectors and cast them into resin in molds made from actual rocks- thus creating a simplified version of a landscape.

  • COLORADO

    Rubberized wood, leatherette, resin, debris, foam
  • COLORADO

    Rubberized wood, leatherette, resin, debris, foam
  • COLORADO

    Leatherette, resin, debris, foam, cat hair
  • COLORADO

    Rubberized wood, leatherette, foam
  • COLORADO

    Leatherette, resin, debris, foam, plastic, grass, car pieces
  • COLORADO

    Leatherette, foam, resin, debris, mylar
  • COLORADO

    Leatherette, foam, resin, debris

VISION QUEST LUNDI: BALTIMORE

Video. 20 minutes.
A Baltimore love story. Beginning with a bicycle processional, two lovers are set on a pre-determined course. Puffins swim under ice as the lovers are put through a ritual of pulling church-like pulpits across an ice rink as camo-wearing onlookers eagerly await. The master of ceremony steps in and joins the lovers and just as soon, the audience storms the ice and breaks it apart. The lovers are zipped up in body bags and sent to sea by way of the Inner Harbor.
This is a modified re-imagination of the standard monomyth. In this version, it is understood that everyone must go on their own grail quest and so instead of one 'hero' we have two— both male and female. Stage directions are taken from a map I have drawn (exhibited in the room adjacent to this screening) that is at once an imagined place and a diagram that places aspects of culture, experience, and the human condition into the shape in order to correlate form with concept.

BURIAL MOUND AT THE MIMI DIPIETRO ICE RINK

Rock salt, table salt, latex, foam, plastic, steel, fabric, marine rope, pvc, model diagrams.
This installation is a sculptural representation of the video VISION QUEST LUNDI: BALTIMORE. The footprint of the room-sized sculpture mimics both an ice rink and the diagrams hung on the walls around it. Materials used in both the video and the installation provide visual continuity and the addition of rock salt where otherwise there would be ice, suggests a moment of change. Salt would theoretically melt the ice and so the rink is a futile setting.

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