SWISS ART AWARDS – Award Ceremony and Exhibition Opening

The winners of the Swiss Art Awards 2014 will be announced in Basel tonight, in the presence of Federal Councillor Alain Berset. On this occasion, and in accordance with the recommendation of the Federal Art Committee, the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) awards 8 artists, 1 architecture collective and 1 art mediator. The exhibition Swiss Art Awards 2014, which coincides with the Art basel fair, presents the works of the 10 winners, along with all other projects and positions that were selected in the second round.

The Swiss Art Award is open to artists and architects, as well as art and architecture curators and critics residing in Switzerland. The competition is carried out in two phases, whereby entrants submit their proposals to the committee in the first round. For this year’s iteration of the award, which was initiated in 1899, the Federal Art Committee has selected 46 proposals by Swiss artists or artists living in Switzerland, as well as 4 proposals by architects, and 18 by curators and critics from a total of 460 entries (submitted by 498 natural persons). The selected proposals will be presented in the public exhibition “Swiss Art Awards”. in the con- text of the exhibition, the jury evaluates the works and selects the winners. Laureates receive an endowment of 25,000 ChF.

Nadia Schneider Willen chairs the Federal Art Committee, and its members include giovanni Carmine, Julie Enckell Julliard, Jean-Luc Manz, Andreas Reuter, Anselm Ignaz Stalder and Noah Stolz. Expert advisors this year are Mireille Adam Bonnet (architecture), Raffael Dörig (digital art), Federica Martini (visual art), Gabriela Mazza (architecture), and Julika Rudelius (visual art).

In the past two decades, the exhibition accompanying the Swiss Art Awards has been an inseparable part of the program of shows taking place during the art fairs in June, and has established itself within this international context. Organized by the Federal Office of Culture, the exhibition allows a wide audience to gain concentrated insights into contemporary art making and architecture projects in Switzerland. At the same time, it enables local artists to present their work to international art professionals. The opening of the exhibition “Swiss Art Awards 2014” follows tonight’s public award ceremony.

This edition of the award exhibition will also see, for the first time, a collaboration between the architects Vécsey Schmidt and Victoria Easton on a specific exhibition design: walls are installed diagonally, following the columns’ rhythm, hence counteracting the hall’s strong orientation. The spatial quality remains unchanged, yet the various artistic formats exhibited will be presented in a more accommodating manner, which allows for a better visitor orientation.


This year, the Swiss Art Award goes to the following recipients:


!MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK Carmen Weisskopf (1976 from BL, lives in Zurich) and Domagoj Smoljo (1979 from SG, lives in Zurich)

“Delivery For Mr. Assange” was premiered online, in real time. it is an installation work that renders visible the delivery process of a real package from the sender to its recipient, wikileaks founder Assange, who has sought diplomatic asylum in the Embassy of Ecuador in London. !Mediengruppe bitnik brilliantly bridges online and offline, or virtual and irL experiences in this installation, which is an emerging topic to the media art discourse. The collective, who refer to themselves as hackers, thus manage to provide an exemplary solu- tion to the central question of how to display a theme through artistic means — especially when it concerns such pressing current sociopolitical issues as transparency, basic right to privacy, and digital security.


Vanessa Billy (1978, from GE, lives in Zurich)

In her sculptural work, Vanessa Billy scrutinizes themes surrounding the social and industrial exploitation of resources. The artist uses different everyday materials and found objects such as vitamin pills or batteries, but also traditional art materials such as bronze, gesso and resin. in the installation-like presentation of her works, billy aptly and successfully reveals the complex and contradictory relationship our society, which is driven by innovation and scientific research, has towards the environment.


Kim Seob Boninsegni (1974, from TI, lives in Genf)

Kim Seob boninsegni’s ambitious work “Kids who eat dirt are called kids. but when adults eat dirt, it’s called geophagy” is a spatial installation that incorporates sculptures, drawings, readymades and texts. The work constitutes a complex system of references, and is based on the legend of the kaolin rich “white Dirt” stone found mostly in the American south, and mined there. in a straightforward, nonchalant manner, boninsegni manages to convey a socio-economic phenomenon using original mythology, and thus touch on relevant social questions.


Claudia Comte (1983, from VD, lives in Berlin)

In her work “Sharp Sharp ii, or the unexpected blackanese” Claudia Comte combines established art traditions like painting, sculpture and museum display elements into one comprehensive installation whose disparate parts reference each other. The motif of the mural for instance – a square – appears elsewhere as a pattern cut out with a chainsaw from the surfaces that define the space. These then create the effect of a cabinet, and double as plinths for the sculptures. The expansive installation evinces the artist’s precision in working with space and compels through its playful implementation and new interpretations of art historical vocabulary, and that of folklore.


Emilie Ding (1981, from FR, lives in Berlin)

“The Very tone Of Things to Come / ghost in A hole” by Emilie Ding is the first in a trilogy of installations shown in disparate temporary sites, and which — in this case – address the topos of an art fair. The viewer is surrounded by wooden panels overlaid with concrete, all resting on their sides. The force inherent to these spatial conditions stands in stark contrast to the mystery of the signs covering the walls. These monumental mythologies thus become a memorial for the very site in which they linger. with her highly economical and efficient handling of her resources, Ding reveals the connections existing between architecture and the stories that reside in it, or that evolve from it.


Emanuel Rossetti (1987, from SG, lives in Basel)

The installation “gallery bells” by Emanuel Rossetti, whose work draws on collaborations and collective strategies, is as visually reserved as it is aurally perva- sive. Several connected rings sound in what appears to be a random sequence, in a reference to a 1950s work by artist Atsuko tanaka, while a text by artist georgia Sagri is mounted where usually, in art fairs, the name of the exhibiting gallery would appear. The work evokes a different, imaginary room and thus probes the space’s function. This polarizing work com- pels through its versatility and the economical way in which it challenges the categories and rules of the art market.


Andreas Hochuli (1982, from AG, lives in Leipzig)

Andreas Hochuli’s pictures explore communal and individual questions of social coexistence, and navigate the conflicting priorities of the analogue and the digital. he manipulates his motifs digitally; with the simple effects of common image processing programs he complies and arranges them. however, he transfers his compositions into paintings using excessively wrought templates and taping techniques. The resulting distinct pictures, into which he also often integrates texts, are reminiscent of everyday ephemera and schematic representations. They leave a lasting impression and are a confident argument for painting in the digital age.


Jules Spinatsch (1964, from GR, lives in Zurich)

The works of Jules Spinatsch pursue the historic traces of nuclear technology, which he explores with the possibilities available to the medium of photography. Through formal stylistic means, he successfully records the industrial and social implications accompanying this specific history. using computer controlled serial photography, the artist creates a kaleidoscopic image that provides a unique view into the core of an atomic reactor.

(Photos: Guadalupe Ruiz)



CKÖ (live and work in Zurich)

The accessible room-within-a-room installation, “The white Cube”, is skillfully transformed into an inaccessible object. The slanted segment of the spatial construct leans against a massive substructure and appears, in contrast, light and provisional. The deep engagement with materiality, construction, accessibility or even functionality helps to render this object enthralling.



Emilie Bujès (1980 , from France and FR, lives in Geneva)

Emilie Bujès: ‘Les marques aveugles’, 2011-2012. Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève. Photo: Annik Wetter 

Emilie bujès is an art historian specializing in film and video art – a focus which provides her with a unique status as curator working in Switzerland. She devel- oped exhibitions and video programs for the Centre d’art contemporain genève, the film festival Laus- anne underground (LuFF) or the project space Forde. Through her work on the selection committees of dif- ferent film festivals in Switzerland and internationally, she contributes greatly to bringing visual art to the world of the moving image. her open and interdisci- plinary approach enriches the visual art sector and the people involved in it.



The jury consists of 7 members of the Federal Art Committee, appointed by the Federal Council, as well as 5 invited experts. All members of the committee as well as the art and architecture professionals evaluated the proposals submitted in the first round, and selected the projects that entered into the second round. Now, in the second round, the art works will be assessed and the winners chosen.


Nadia Schneider Willen is an independent curator and Chairman of the Federal Art Committee since 2012. before becoming its Chairman, she was a member of the committee for several years. She worked as, among other things, conservator for modern and contemporary art at the Musée d’art et d’histoire, genf, director and curator at the Kunsthausglarus (2001–2007) and dedicated herself in the 1990s as curator to the project space Kombirama and the Kleines Helmhaus, Zurich. She has curated numerous solo and group exhibitions with Swiss artists as well as international artists. Nadia Schneider Willen was born in 1971, she lives in Zurich.

Giovanni Carmine has been a member of the committee since 2013, and the director of the Kunst halle Sankt gallen since 2007. previous to that, he worked as independent curator and art critic. Carmine curated the Swiss pavilion at the 55th Venice biennale, in 2013. he was the artistic coordinator of the exhibition iLLu- Minations at the 54th Venice biennale in 2011, and co- editor of the biennial’s catalogue. his 2002 exhibition unloaded took place inside Swiss military bunkers. giovanni Carmine lives in St. gallen and Zurich. he was born in 1975 in bellinzona, in the italian-speaking Switzerland.

Julie Enckell Julliard has been a member of the com- mittee since 2013. She is currently the director of the Musée Jenisch in Vevey. She has curated numerous ex- hibitions with established artists as well as newcomers in Switzerland and in international galleries. As an art and culture writer, she specializes in contemporary works on paper by, among others, Alain huck, Silvia buonvicini and Denis Savary. She has published texts on the art- ist pierrette bloch and the sound artist rudy Decelière. Julie Enckell Julliard was born in 1974 in Lausanne.

Artist Jean-Luc Manz has been a member of the com- mittee since 2007. he had his first exhibition in 1976, in galerie rivolta in Lausanne, and exhibited in many further shows ever since in Switzerland and interna- tionally, for example, in galerie Susanna Kulli, Zurich and galeria Skopia, genf. born in 1952 in neuchâtel, he’s a professor at the haute École d’Art et de Design in genf.

Swiss architect Andreas Reuter has been a member of the committee since 2012, and before that, he served as one of the ‘expert advisors’ in the competition in the category Architecture. reuter was born in 1964 in Mainz (D) and graduated from the Eth, Zurich in 1991. he then worked for various architects in Zurich, basel and berlin, including herzog & Meuron, among others. in 1997 he founded, together with Dominique Salathé, the award-winning architecture office “Sa- barchitekten”. Andreas reuter lives in basel.

Artist Anselm Stalder has been a member of the com- mittee since 2012. he works and lives in basel. Since 1980, his oeuvre has centered on questions regarding the possibility of representation, exhibition as medium, stretching of language, and periphery as setting. his treatment of these inquiries is carried out in a wide range of mediums, and is committed to mental pro- cesses rather than to stylistic decisions. Anselm Stalder teaches at the Fine Art department at the hochschule der Künste, bern.

Noah Stolz has been a member of the committee since 2009. he is an independent curator, producer and critic. his texts have been published in Mousse Magazine, Kaleidoscope and Kunstbulletin, to name a few. in 2004, he founded La rada, an independent space for contemporary art in Locarno, and has been responsible for its program ever since. noah Stolz currently works for the project Stella Maris, a platform for production and distribution, initiated and realized in collabora- tion with different Swiss and international institutions.



Mireille Adam Bonnet (architecture)
Raffael Dörig (digital art)
Federica Martini (visual art)
Gabriela Mazza (architecture)
Julika Rudelius (visual art)


SWISS ART AWARDS – Messeplatz, Hall 4, Basel

INFO DESK: Hall 4 Entrance +41 (0)313229283
OPENING HOURS:  Tuesday 17 – Sunday 22, June 2014 – 10am – 8pm (Sunday: 10am – 7pm)