Country SALTS: Dafna Maimon & Ethan Hayes-Chute, Sergio Rojas Chaves, Kelly Tissot
Country SALTS operates from a garden site located in Bennwil, Baselland, known as Hof Strickmatt. Operating alongside its sibling site––City SALTS in Birsfelden––Country SALTS explores the potential of connecting art to rural ways of life and creativity.
20 Sep – 31 Mar 2022

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Occupying the center of the “stage”, Dafna Maimon (1982, Finland) and Ethan
Hayes-Chute (1982, USA, both based in Berlin, DE) arranged a presentation
of Camp Solong’s functional structures related to their participative project,
initiated in 2016. An experimental and nomadic, semi-fictional summer camp,
Camp Solong is based on “the inevitable, impending task of saying goodbye” –
goodbye to usual habits, goodbye to campers at the end of the session... In and
around an open-air, one-wall cabin structure, the annual six campers, chosen
via open call, participate, in natural sites, in various activities, both critical? and
humorous, such as “Emotional Trashbinning”, “Solo Time-Traveling” or even a
“Poop-Talk”... In Country SALTS’ space, the artists have displayed the camp’s
bunkbeds, or “Personal Bunkentities”, a sort of fragmented version of their usual
structure (due to the current pandemic) wherein the collective space was divided
into 8 separate structures along with a large wall painting calling to mind
a sunset, that welcome a documentation and an ensemble of works that like
fragments, tell the story of this intermittent heterotopia.

On his side, Sergio Rojas Chaves (Costa Rica, lives in Basel, CH) focuses on the info@salts.ch
way plant and animal species are seen, used and represented by contemporary
culture. Interested in ethnobiology, he started the making of a series of what he
calls “portraits” of specific houseplants. Over the course of a year at Country
SALTS, his investigation will connect botanical history research and narratives
from individuals who live and interact with these species. Interviews are conducted
and observations are made, and cumulate in order to compose, in the end,
and crystallize in the form a series of publications. For this installment of his project,
the artist is showing collages that act as the coming covers of these books
that grow, in a way, in parallel to a group of the actual plants that are studied.
The work of Kelly Tissot (1995, France, based in Basel, CH) comes out of her
exploration of the countryside’s material environment and cultures. Her sculptural
approach to things, objects and pictures leads her to the realization of black
and white images of animals, printed on aluminum, or machine-like fragments
mechanics casted in resin or wood, that all refer to the violent and masculine
unconscious of the rural world that aims at “de-romanticizing”. If human figures
are absent, bodies are omnipresent – would it through forms of machines and
prosthesis, or signs of spatial or social control, their function being removed.
This creates the a universe in tension, suspended, between nature and culture,
fiction and reality, fascination and critical friction. Displayed in a cold, distant and
repetitive way in the space, in relation with the forms they derive from, Tissot’s
menacing, yet mute works reveal the dark politics of what exists outside the
cities.

In addition with these three interconnected proposals, Country SALTS presents
its newly refurbished library: in the meantime a collaborative collection of books
and documents, as a reading and convivial room dedicated to educational activities,
it is also a site that will welcome specific artists’ commissions, starting in
2022. For now, the library welcomes a selection of publications collected in relation
with a growing network of correspondents, contributing in Country SALTS’ investigation
that aims to foster alliances between art, husbandry and agriculture.
Country SALTS 2021 – 22 program is curated by Samuel Leuenberger and
Yann Chateigné Tytelman, in collaboration with Gabriella Beckhurst Feijoo.
SALTS is kindly supported by kulturelles.bl, Pro Helvetia Johannesburg
SüdKulturFonds, Stiftung Temperatio, and others who wish to remain anoymous.