Swiss Art Awards
As always, the results give reason for debate and the exchange of views: The awardees of the 2018 Swiss Art Awards are nine artists, a curator duo, and a collective of architects.
The selection is the outcome of long discussions and many considerations, always with the clear objective to even- tually present a set of artists whose work reflects contempo- raneity, while at the same time being unique in the current artistic and cultural context. Of the almost 400 submitted applications, 50 have been selected for the exhibition in Basel. The high quality of their work has made the selection diffi- cult but the debates all the more interesting.
The Swiss Federal Art Commission is aided in its work by five external experts, three for the visual arts and two for architecture. The input of these voices is extremely important, as the rotation of external experts brings with it new impulses and discussions for each edition of the Swiss Art Awards. We want to extend our gratitude to the experts who have supported us in 2018: Yasmin Afschar, Marcel Bleuler, and Francis Baudevin for the visual arts, and Anne Marie Wagner and Oliver Lütjens for architecture.
The selection made by the Swiss Federal Art Commis- sion is also the result of major preparation and coordination efforts by the Department for Cultural Creation of the Swiss Federal Office of Culture. Special thanks are therefore due to Léa Fluck who, with the help of Annelise Hunziker, Patricia Hartmann, and Matilde Tettamanti, again organised the competition and exhibition this year and always remained upbeat in the process. Without such a dedicated professional staff, it would not have been possible to realise a competition of this size and an exhibition of this quality. Their contribution to the Swiss art scene is of great importance and deserves recognition, here and elsewhere.
The Swiss Art Awards are an important stage in an artist’s career. They not only offer welcome financial support but also, and above all, real encouragement to continue one’s work, develop it further, and make it more uncompromising. Being an artist is not easy; those who decide to embark on this path deserve our respect and our support. In this sense, the great success of the Swiss Art Awards exhibition confirms the interest, also on an international level, in Swiss art and shows that the respect is deserved.
The Swiss Art Awards open up new possibilities for the participants, not least by establishing contacts and providing visibility. This important function of the Competition usually goes unmentioned. We can say without doubt that the quality of the submissions is growing year by year—and along with it the success of the exhibition during Art Basel.
There are institutions of contemporary art that boast about showing the art of tomorrow. It should be clear to any- one engaged with contemporary art that the support of the artists who are active today should not depend on speculations about their future artistic and economic value. It is clearly more interesting to engage with the art of today, for it tells us about our present and allows us to better understand it and view it proactively. The Swiss Art Awards are proof that the contem- porary Swiss art scene cultivates an active relationship to the present and seeks to make a positive impact on it. Perhaps, we should rather focus on the current moment instead of always turning our attention to putatively better places and times. Swiss Art Awards, hic et nunc.
Chair of the Federal Art Commission
For the list of the finalists and further information, please visit the website: