Pax Art Awards 2020
The third edition of the Pax Art Awards took place during the “Basel Art Days” in September 2020. Groundbreaking in the field of digital art, these annual prizes honour and promote media-specific practices of Swiss artists whose works employ media technologies or reflect their effects. The winners of the 2020 prizes were the Basel-based artist duo Studer/van den Berg as well as the artists Simone C Niquille and Maria Guta.
The Art Foundation Pax is an independent foundation for the promotion of digital and media-based art in Switzerland and is sponsored by Pax. Since its institution, the foundation has annually presented the Pax Art Awards at the HEK.
The jury of the 2020 Pax Art Awards – Mónica Bello (Head of Arts at CERN, Geneva), Sabine Himmelsbach (Director HeK), Luc Meier (Director La Becque Résidence d’artistes, La Tour-de-Peilz) and Carmen Weisskopf (of the artist duo !Mediengruppe Bitnik, winner of the 2018 Pax Art Awards) – honours the artist duo Studer/van den Berg (Monica Studer und Christoph van den Berg) for their advanced and long-standing work in the field of media art with a prize of CHF 30,000. The prize money is divided into CHF 15,000 in support of a new work and CHF 15,000 for the acquisition of a work for the collection of Art Foundation Pax. Two further prizes of CHF 15,000, each respectively divided into support and acquisition, are dedicated to young emerging media artists. In 2018, these went to the Swiss artist Simone C Niquille and the artist Maria Guta, who lives in Neuchatel,
Jury seats and voting rights are also held by members of the board of Art Foundation Pax:
Nicolas C. Bopp, President, Art Foundation Pax, Basel
Fausto De Lorenzo, De Lorenzo Art and Museum Management & Consulting GmbH, Basel
Studer / van den Berg
The jury of the Pax Art Awards 2020 commemorates Monica Studer (*1960 in Zurich) and Christoph van den Berg (*1962 in Basel) for the broad body of work they created in the last decades, which has always been characterised by their unique use of digital tools. Employing game engines, computer renderings, real-time digital environments, internet-based spaces, interactive installations, VR applications and artificial intelligence, the artists design and create digital utopias constructed from variety of mixed-media set-ups. These scenarios invite viewers into enter unusual virtual environments, welcoming them to rediscover themselves in these hybrid spaces.
The Pax Art Awards jury is pleased to present Maria Guta (*1983 in Romania) with one of two Pax Art Awards for an emerging voice in the Swiss media art scene. Guta’s work centres on mechanisms of self-representation. Taking her place both behind and in front of the camera, the artist continually creates and curates alternative cyber identities. Guta’s work explores the possibilities and limits of photography, performance, installation, social media and immersive digital tools.
Simone C Niquille
The jury awards one of two Pax Art Awards for emerging media-art talent to Simone C. Niquille (*1987 in Zug, CH). The Swiss artist’s work unfolds as a playfully critical examination of the digital tools that increasingly shape our physical world, exploring the assumptions, biases and other abstractions that flow into the data sets, which enable these tools to function. Niquille investigates, as she puts it, “the digitisation of biomass” – i.e. how the digital realm is increasingly taking direct effect on our spatial being and our physical selves.