the vast ocean of all possibilities (19°36'16.9"N 72°13'07.0"W / 41°30'32.3"N 81°36'41.7"W), 2022
Acrylic paint, plywood, polystyrene foam, moss, and molded resin coral
182 1/2 x 355 1/2 x 201 in
463.6 x 903 x 510.5 cm
For Art Basel Unlimited, James Cohan will present a monumental installation by Firelei Báez, the vast ocean of all possibilities (19°36'16.9"N 72°13'07.0"W / 41°30'32.3"N 81°36'41.7"W), 2022, the latest in an ongoing series in which Báez reimagines the archaeological ruins of the Sans Souci Palace in Milot, northern Haiti: a site of great significance and creative generation for the artist.
In this immersive installation, the walls of the decaying palace are intricately adorned with hand-painted symbols of healing and resistance, reproductions of traditional West African indigo prints, 19th-century interior design motifs, and marine life native to Caribbean waters. The Sans Souci Palace and its legacy play an important role in the artist’s work in reimagining and recontextualizing the historical significance of Haiti – and the Caribbean at large – in counter-narratives of migration, revolution, and survival.