Art Basel Conversations: Cao Fei and Hans Ulrich Obrist – Text by Ivo Barraza Castaneda.

I attended this afternoon the zoom conversation held between Chinese artist Cao Fei and curator Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Hans Ulrich Obrist is very well known for the beauty that comes out of the conversations he has with artists, thinkers and creatives all over the world since even before he started his profession. So it’s a great gift to be able to witness one of these conversations in real time.

Contemporary artist Cao Fei spent her Corona lock down in Shanghai, where she was meant to develop a project which soon had to be transformed into what ever the pandemic conditions would force her to use as media. I found her “Island”particularly moving, which she created inside her apartment and where her daughter would perform and be recorded by Cao Fei.

During the conversation, they discussed the relation between Cao Fei’s early work and her newly “re-found” constraints during lock down, her conceptual work involving augmented reality, and the anthropological research on  her instagram where she documents and defines iconography in daily life. Also new generation of young contemporary Chinese artists who have a lot more global view of art and social concerns.

Finally, Obrist finished by asking his legendary question ‘What is your big unrealized project?’. Fei replied she has always wanted to make a documentary film closely following the curator, for the present and future generations.

I personally would recommend to follow Hans Ulrich Obrist’s social platforms if you are interested in learning and keeping up to date with a very conceptual sensibility in contemporary art. He is truly inspiring and a master to all of us in how to collaborate and create human connections in the hopes of creating a more creative world.




Ivo Barraza Castaneda

Hello, my name is Ivo. My three favorite things in life are: Thinking deeply about visual creation. I like having long discussions of ideas that might reinvent the course of history. And finally, spending time with the people I love. Since I was a child, I was always involved in some activity around plastic arts, music and literature. That’s how I learned to sew by hand at the age of five, which later led me to focus on my main professional media: Fashion Design.