Prix Meret Oppenheim 2019

Prix Meret Oppenheim 2019

The Federal Office of Culture (Switzerland)

[1] Meili & Peter Architekten, Zurich main station platform roof. Photo: Marcel Meili. [2] Shirana Shahbazi, Grün-Blau-01, 2017. Courtesy Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich. [3] Samuel Schellenberg. Photo: Moos-Tang.

March 14, 2019
Prix Meret Oppenheim 2019
Award Ceremony
June 10, 2019, 5pm
Swiss Art Awards: June 11–16
Swiss Art Awards
Messe Basel
Hall 1.1, Entrance Isteinerstrasse, Gate 107
4058 Basel

The Swiss Federal Office of Culture is presenting the 19th Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim to outstanding personalities from Switzerland’s cultural scene whose work has local and international impact:

–Meili & Peter Architekten
–Samuel Schellenberg, journalist/art critic
–Shirana Shahbazi, artist

The laureates will be honored together with the winners of the Swiss Art Awards on June 10, 2019 in Basel.

Meili & Peter Architekten
The collaboration between architects Marcel Meili and Markus Peter dates back to 1987, when they founded their first firm. Some 30 years and three companies in Zurich and Munich later, the duo has participated in major competitions and carried out many projects that have established them as unquestionably influential figures in the Swiss architectural landscape. Their pragmatic approach to architecture is characterized both by their attention to detail and by a careful study of the specific conditions under which their buildings will be used, and by the bespoke technical and technological innovations they develop for their projects. Meili and Peter strike a perfect balance between creative genius and constructive intelligence, which can also be seen in the many master-plans and urban planning research projects they have delivered. Their “exemplary practice,” in the words of the Federal Art Commission, is based on the complementarity of Marcel Meili and Markus Peter.

Samuel Schellenberg
Samuel Schellenberg first put his pen to work for Le Courrier in Geneva in 2004, after studying art history at the University of Lausanne. Now head of the cultural section of the newspaper—the only independent daily in the Lake Geneva area—he has established himself as a committed figure in cultural journalism. Essential given the risk of unilateralism but in the process of disappearing from the generalist press, art criticism nurtures a debate that opens up culture while recognizing its social and political value. In honoring Schellenberg for his work, the Federal Art Commission emphasizes that he “has succeeded, through his investigations, in highlighting trends and issues in society that are reflected in art.” With uncompromising resolve, Schellenberg the critic tackles both regional and international subjects and not only covers current artistic events but also conducts in-depth investigations, fearlessly taking on institutions and prominent personalities in the process.

Shirana Shahbazi
Over the course of her artistic career, Shirana Shahbazi has developed a unique approach to the photographic medium that has earned her international recognition, both institutional and commercial. Working at the intersection of cultures, Shahbazi, who was born in Iran and emigrated to Germany before settling in Zurich in the late 1990s, is known for the polysemy of her photographs, which invite the viewer not only to contemplate, but also to deconstruct the various facets of the photographic act: the represented object and its sometimes political repercussions; the beauty and acuity of the eye mediated through a personal interpretation of a subject; and finally the power of the printed result, in all its material density. Flirting regularly with abstraction, sometimes venturing into installation, Shirana Shahbazi’s works are much more than a test of the potential of analog photography or the fascinating product of compositional virtuosity. They are the result of an elaborate artistic inquiry brought to life by technical expertise.

Jury  Federal Art Commission
The jury for the Prix Meret Oppenheim is chaired by Giovanni Carmine (Director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, St. Gallen). Its members are Laura Arici (Art Historian, Zurich), Valentin Carron (Artist, Fully), Victoria Easton (Architect, Christ & Gantenbein, Basel), Julie Enckell Julliard (Head of the Cultural Development Department, HEAD, Geneva), Anne-Julie Raccoursier (Artist, Lausanne), and Anselm Stalder (Artist, Basel).

Award ceremony and exhibition
The award ceremony will take place on June 10, 2019 at 5pm (Hall 3, Messe Basel). Film portraits of the Prix Meret Oppenheim winners will be on show in the Swiss Art Awards 2019 exhibition, which runs in parallel to Art Basel (June 11–16, daily from 10am to 7pm, admission free). To coincide with the award ceremony, the Federal Office of Culture is to release the Prix Meret Oppenheim 2019 publication, with portraits and interviews of the laureates.
Prix Meret Oppenheim
The Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim was founded in 2001 by the Federal Office of Culture in collaboration with the Federal Art Commission. It honors figures from the worlds of art and architecture as well as criticism, curation, and research whose work is of particular relevance and importance for contemporary art and architecture in Switzerland and beyond.
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