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Aargauer Kunsthaus opens a major survey of young contemporary art in Switzerland
Exhibition view La jeunesse est un art. Jubiläum Manor Kunstpreis 2012 (1.9.-18.11.2012), Marta Riniker Radich. Aargauer Kunsthaus, Aarau. Photo: David Aebi, Burgdorf.

AARAU.- La jeunesse est un art is the title of a major survey of young contemporary art in Switzerland presented by the Aargauer Kunsthaus. Marking the 30th anniversary of the Manor Art Prize, one of the foremost advancement awards for contemporary art in the country, the exhibition includes 49 artists from all parts of the country who are showing their most recent work, thus reflecting the diversity and multifariousness of the young Swiss art scene.

La jeunesse est un art provides Aargauer Kunsthaus with an opportunity to present important young art practices in a large-scale exhibition and, in the process, expand its position as an institution devoted to Swiss art. This reputation, indeed, earned the Kunsthaus the honour of being approached by the Manor Company about an exhibition to mark the 30th anniversary of the Manor Art Prize.

One year after the exhibition Voici un dessin suisse (Aargauer Kunsthaus, in cooperation with the Musée Jenisch Vevey), which presented a crosssection of Swiss draughtsmanship, the group show La jeunesse est un art will, in turn, widen the scope: on view will be a wide variety of current Swiss art using a broad range of artistic media. The exhibition is intended as a well-founded and pioneering presentation of the current young art scene in Switzerland and thus continues a series of exhibitions that were each similarly conceived as surveys of contemporary Swiss art: Saus und Braus (1980, Städtische Galerie Strauhof, Zurich), Stiller Nachmittag (1987, Kunsthaus Zürich), Nonchalance de l’attitude (1997, Centre PasquArt, Biel), Freie Sicht aufs Mittelmeer (1998, Kunsthaus Zürich), and Shifting Identities (2008, Kunsthaus Zürich).

The exhibition will include works of 49 artists, among them some of the most innovative and discrete artistic practices. Conceived as an assessment of the current state of young Swiss art, artists from all parts of the country will be included. Thematically, the exhibition combines a broad and open approach with a temporal focus that is narrowed down to the present. With very few exceptions, the works included are from 2012, with quite a few having been realized specially for the exhibition at the Aargauer Kunsthaus. Thus, rather than being a compilation of familiar works, the presentation serves as a platform for new work, providing insights into the artists’ particular stage of development. Banking on diversity and contrasts, the show is both a podium and a forum for discussion. Beyond the museum presentation, the in-depth reflection on the current Swiss art scene is extended and enlarged upon in the form of a comprehensive publication.

The exhibition focuses on current art practices. However, one gallery, the Salle Prix Culturel Manor, is devoted to previous recipients of the Manor Art Prize. Adorning the walls are portraits of the altogether 130 artists and references to their most important publications, while the flyers that are on display contain their personal statements on the subject of the Manor Art Prize. Responsible for the design of this space is the artist Daniel Robert Hunziker, himself a recipient of the Manor Art Prize Aarau in 2002.

In this anniversary year, the exhibition La jeunesse est un art replaces the Manor Art Prize and the concomitant solo exhibitions at various venues. The group exhibition organised by the Aargauer Kunsthaus highlights the sponsorship concept underlying the Manor Art Prize and focuses, like the regionally organised Manor Prizes, on the promotion of promising young talent in the Swiss art scene. Thus the focus is not on the history of the Manor Art Prize, but rather on the present, the topical and the look ahead.

As provided by the selection criteria for the regular Manor Art Prize, the cut-off age for exhibiting artists is 40. Whether artists have previously received Manor Art Prizes or not remained deliberately unconsidered in the selection process. To meet the requirements of a major survey exhibition in a comprehensive manner, artists were selected in a two-stage process by a curatorial board. Six young curators were invited to serve as jurors. All belonging to the same generation as the artists included in the exhibition, they are experienced curators who have demonstrated a thorough knowledge of and familiarity with the young art scene. In addition, they are from different parts of the country. Madeleine Schuppli, director of the Aargauer Kunsthaus, presided over the board.

Artists included in the exhibition
Omar Alessandro, Omar Ba, Alexandra Bachzetsis, Nino Baumgartner, Seline Baumgartner, Vanessa Billy, Beni Bischof, Pauline Boudry / Renate Lorenz, Manuel Burgener, Stefan Burger, Valentin Carron, Davide Cascio, Claudia Comte, Stéphane Dafflon, Philippe Decrauzat, Emilie Ding, Latifa Echakhch, Saskia Edens, Athene Galiciadis, Florian Germann, Aloïs Godinat, Christian Gonzenbach, Gian-Reto Gredig / Goran Galić, Raphael Hefti, Thomas Julier, Esther Kempf, Laurent Kropf, Fabian Marti, Luc Mattenberger, Adrien Missika, Kaspar Müller, Damián Navarro, Taiyo Onorato / Nico Krebs, Uriel Orlow, Sandrine Pelletier, Mai-Thu Perret, Guillaume Pilet, Annaïk Lou Pitteloud, Marta Riniker Radich, Anne Rochat, Ana Roldan, Kilian Rüthemann, Vanessa Safavi, Denis Savary, Pascal Schwaighofer, Shirana Shahbazi

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