Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim 2022 winners announced

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Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim 2022 winners announced
Caroline Bachmann © Lena Amuat.

BASEL.- Upon the recommendation of the Federal Art Commission, the Federal Office of Culture will award this year's Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim to artist Caroline Bachmann, civil engineers Jürg Conzett and Gianfranco Bronzini and artist Klodin Erb. The award ceremony will take place together with the Swiss Art Awards on 13 June 2022 in Basel.

The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim has been awarded to outstanding personalities in the fields of art, architecture, art education, research or criticism for 22 years. Two exceptional Swiss painters, Caroline Bachmann and Klodin Erb, will be honoured. The engineering firm of Jürg Conzett and Gianfranco Bronzini will be awarded for its unique contribution to high building culture.

The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim 2022 will be presented together with the Swiss Art Awards on 13 June in Basel. The public event will be followed by the vernissage of the «Swiss Art Awards» exhibition, at which the winners of the Swiss Art Awards will be presented in video portraits. The exhibition will take place at the same time as Art Basel from 13 to 19 June 2022.

Caroline Bachmann

“It’s all about light!”

Painter Caroline Bachmann (born in 1963 Lausanne, lives between Cully and Berlin) experiments with shifts in states and perceptions. She has undertaken long stays abroad, notably in Italy; her return to Switzerland in the early 2000s was marked by a ten-year collaboration with artist Stefan Banz. An important event of this collaboration is the creation of the Kunsthalle Marcel Duchamp Association in Cully and the organization of the Marcel Duchamp Symposium in 2009. For Caroline Bachmann, it was an opportunity to discover a group of early 20th-century American figurative painters. Through her conversation with them and their precise yet transcendent relationship with nature, she fashioned the synthetic and almost dreamlike pictorial language that characterizes her works. Organized according to the customary categories of painting, from landscape to portraits and still life, her works are as much homages to the infinite renewal of local landscapes as they are cosmic celebrations of the marriage of the elements. Her portraits of female artists or painters of the past are located within an art historical tradition, but they are also a kind of manifesto of painting that connects places, times and figures. Caroline Bachmann’s work thus becomes a vehicle conveying us to an unknown location, which may be past, present or future.

Jürg Conzett & Gianfranco Bronzini

“I always try to eke out a bit of freedom so that I can experiment with the opposite. That means exploring the poles of old–new, spectacular–unspectacular, and build–don’t build.” (J.C.)

“Jürg talked about the freedom to try out the opposite. That’s unbelievably important. I suppose the reason our projects are so different is that we’re always prepared to change our minds during a process and be won over by better arguments and solutions.” (G.B.)

Civil engineers Jürg Conzett (born 1956 in Aarau, lives in Tamins) and Gianfranco Bronzini (born 1967 in Poschiavo, lives in Bonaduz) are a reminder that the engineer’s craft is a part of our built culture. Together since 1994, they have had their own engineering consultancy in Chur since 1996. Conzett studied at the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology in Lausanne and Zurich; Bronzini completed an apprenticeship as a civil engineering draughtsman before studying at the Eastern Switzerland University of Applied Sciences OST. Their designs are the product of an intensive thought process; with their strategic tactic, they always opt to find the solution that is most intelligent, both technologically and aesthetically. Among their projects, there are the Negrelli footbridge over the tracks leading out of Zurich’s main railway station, the bold suspension bridge spanning the Viamala Gorge, or the Wonder Bridge at the Technorama in Winterthur. They have collaborated with architects such as Meili+Peter, Miller+Maranta, Peter Zumthor and Diener & Diener. The duo are also researchers. In the 2010 publication “Landscape and Structures”, the Swiss contribution to the 12th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice, Conzett and photographer Martin Linsi laid out the essence of the engineer’s art. They have received a number of awards for their work, including the Prix Acier steel and metal construction prize in 2021 for the Negrelli footbridge.

Klodin Erb

“I have absolutely no need to talk about how I paint or how my paintings come about. I’m much more interested in why someone paints and the feelings they experience when they’re doing it.”

In her expressive and fantastical pictorial worlds, Klodin Erb (born in 1963 in Winterthur, lives in Zurich) reacts like a seismograph to the social and media moods and situations of the present day. Her core medium – the basis of her work – is painting. Often, the theme dictates the form: she tailors her techniques to the topic she is dealing with, underlining, emphasising, accentuating and interweaving form and content to maximise the expressive power of painting. The content of her pictures is always located in the present moment. Formal influences come from popular and web culture and from art history, together with a love of experimentation and a continual probing of the limits of painting. A precise observer of her surroundings, and of the world in which we live, Klodin Erb is interested in how our social structures are changing, and the challenges we face in the here and now. Just as people – and thus our society – evolve, so she constantly interrogates and renews her work as an artist, driving it constantly forwards. Forays into other media, such as film, installation and collage, prove to be extremely inspiring and fruitful ways of generating new kinds of image, which she then incorporates into her painting.

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