Basel, The Baloise Art Prize has been awarded to Xinyi Cheng from China and Giulia Cenci from Italy. The prize of CHF 30,000.- will be presented at the Statements sector of Art Basel by a jury of international experts. The prize includes the acquisition by Baloise of a group of works by the award winners, which are donated to two important museums in Europe: the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and the MUDAM, Luxembourg.
This year’s jury includes: Marie-Noëlle Farcy, Curator/Head of Collection, MUDAM, Luxembourg; Gabriele Knapstein, Head of Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin; Harald Falckenberg, Sammlung Falckenberg, Hamburg; Lionel Bovier, Director Musée d'art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva and Martin Schwander, Fine Art Advisor of Baloise, Chairman of the jury.
Giulia Cenci’s immersive installation brings together a set of uncanny sculptures. All these fragmented works form an ambitious and complex composition turning the space into a stage on which visitors have to move with caution. Hybridization, aggregation, distortion testify to a prolonged creative process of transforming materials. Found elements – both mechanical and organic in nature – are combined in a sophisticated mix of materials from metal to rubber, from foam and resin to ceramic. The work is meant as an overall environment, where visitors walk through a kind of spread out skeleton whose bones are scattered in space.
Xinyi Cheng tackles the genre of portraiture and imbues it with psychology, social relations, and personal fascination. As a female painter mainly choosing male models, she subverts the archetypal relation that has prevailed in this genre for centuries. The portraits are painted in undefined settings and range from classic compositions to extreme close-ups. The pictorial treatment varies from flat to detailed, from thin to thick, and from realistic to symbolic. Depicted in unrealistic but expressive colors, always mastered as an attractive combination and palette, the subjects of Xinyi Cheng's works are as much represented as they are fantasized.