Coinciding with Art Basel, the annual Swiss Art Awards exhibition organised and conceived by the Federal Office of Culture since 1899 provides a representative overview and unique insight into contemporary art and architecture making in Switzerland. It shows the works of the artists that have been invited to the second round of the Swiss Competition for Art and Architecture. Swiss artists, architects, curators and critics of all ages, as well as those based in Switzerland, are eligible to participate in the categories of art, architecture and criticism. Acting on the recommendation of the commission, the Federal Office of Culture awards the prizes, each worth CHF 25,000. This year, 11 prices will be awarded.
The Swiss Design Awards are Switzerland’s leading national design competition organized annually by the FOC (Federal Office of Culture) since 1918. Coinciding with Art Basel and Design/Miami, the annual Swiss Design Awards exhibition provides a representative overview and a unique insight into contemporary Swiss design practice: products and objects, fashion and textile design, graphic design, photography, scenography and mediation (curating and criticism). The winners of the Swiss Design Awards will be offered their choice of either a money prize of CHF 25,000, an internship in a renowned office or a studio residence abroad.
With this year’s Prix Meret Oppenheim, the Federal Office of Culture (FOC) honors four outstanding Swiss culture practitioners: the artists Christoph Büchel and Oliver Mosset, curator Urs Stahel, and the architectural duo Staufer/Hasler.
For the first time, the Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim is presented in parallel to Art Basel and ahead of the opening of the Swiss Art Awards 2015 exhibition.
Film portraits of the Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim recipients will be presented in the exhibition alongside a comprehensive publication with essays and interviews.
Destroyed in the Second World War and divided by the Wall, Berlin experienced a veritable construction boom during the 1960s. Inspired by the spirit of a new beginning and technological euphoria, urban planners and architects designed radical new cityscapes for a modern society. Often unjustly criticized as inhumane or unsightly, important examples from this period of architecture have often already been torn down, disfigured by later alterations, or are threatened with demolition today.
The exhibition Radically Modern takes the first look at the context of this architecture’s emergence, examining formal aspects and underlying international influences on the architecture developed in both East and West Berlin. Presenting works and planning by Werner Düttmann, Fehling + Gogel, Walter Gropius, Georg Heinrichs, Josef Kaiser, Roland Korn, Ludwig Leo, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Klaus Müller-Rehm, Ulrich Müther, Hans Scharoun, Manfred Zumpe among others, besides interventions of contemporary artists like Evol, Beate Gütschow, Karsten Konrad, Hendrik Krawen, Friderike von Rauch, Bernd Trasberger, Stephen Willats and others.
For Do Not Bench, twelve benches and twelve lamps, materials from an urban surrounding, transform the exhibition site into a space encompassing installation. The works play with the difference between aesthetic and functional pieces, exploring the ways in which these quotidian objects, hand-made by the artist, can be recontextualised as works of art. By extension, the exhibition becomes an investigation in dualities: double meanings, simultaneous absence and presence, reality and fantasy, revealing and concealing. The objects within the exhibition appear to be plain, ordinary, but conceal behind their façades many things to think about.
Meyer Riegger presents Inside a Magnified Picture, a retrospective into the life of Italian-German artist Rosa Barba. Based on radical experimentation with the medium of film, proposing a new language, Barbra’s pieces not only dissect cinema itself (celluloid, light, colour, sound, image, movement, time) but also fragment narration into different layers, implying a level of abstraction in which imagination and a conceptual approach play a decisive role.
The exhibition results from the desire to radically empty the gallery and transform it into an engine room. Time as Perspective (2012) is shot in the desert landscape of Texas, revealing continuous scenery of rhythmically pumping oil derricks in which Barba explores the idea of a geological time. For the artist, time is as ‘a layered slab, with periods stacked on top of each other, more than as a single stretched line.’ The oil pumps are in an infinite looping movement which draws a parallel to the loop of the film itself: a double loop of sorts. They are also reminiscent of clocks or sewing machines. These mechanic devices that transform the landscape into a drawing field remind us of Rosa Barba’s own filmic sculptures, which transform themselves into drawing machines.
Over the last decade, the perception of the gallery space has developed and changed: exhibition space and architecture increasingly merge into an integrated concept for the perception of art. The transformation of the gallery space takes a central role during this year’s Gallery Weekend Berlin, where highly diverse gallery spaces serve primarily to present works of art but also as settings for interaction between gallerists, artists, collectors and enthusiasts. For its eleventh edition, Gallery Weekend Berlin plays host to 47 participating galleries featuring contemporary works by established artists, as well as promising newcomers. Highlighting the important art metropolis that is Berlin, the participating galleries open their doors to a multifaceted art scene, showcasing the numerous internationally exhibiting artists who live and work there.
Highlighting the work of artist and goldsmith Georg Hornemann, Studio Universale features 40 pieces, including organic inspired ring sculptures, filigree earrings and necklaces with amber and jade, small art chamber objects and pieces from artist collaborations. Three showcases, made especially for the exhibition, are designed like cabinets of curiosity and what Hornemann calls a modern “Wunderkammer,” giving insight into the world of the artists inspirations, which include motives from nature, fairy tales, fables, art and architecture. Drawing, painting, molding, manufacturing and casting models from wax, Hornemann approaches his creations in various ways, which he realises using gems, gold, silver, platinum, bronze and iron, as well as unusual materials like corian and acrylic. His references vary from prehistorical models and antiques of European periods from Art Nouveau to Art Deco, as well as East Asian Art – inspirations which he eventually converts into contemporary objects.
Neïl Beloufa’s work Superlatives and Resolution, People Passion, Movement and Life is a kinetic sculpture that integrates and refracts a fragmented video onto its moving panels. As the sculpture expands and contracts along its steel tracks within the octagonal space of the Schinkel Pavillon, the video unfolds a narrative that travels across a series of staged interviews. The interviewees, everyday people of youth and health, exalt an unnamed city by describing its merits, such as the different kinds of natural waters that offer the ideal alchemy for recreational sports. The interviews outline a sort of 21st century mythology of a utopia with an ideal work-life balance structured around power naps. Including a dislocated Nico singing about All Tomorrow’s Parties in the background.