Art space “attitudes” in Geneva receives first SWISS EXHIBITION AWARD

Zurich, 02.04.2009 - The first Swiss Exhibition Award goes to Western Switzerland: to the Espace d’arts contemporains “attitudes” by Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser in Geneva. They are receiving the prize for the exhibition “The Example” by Shahryar Nashat. Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, Director of the Federal Office of Culture, and Jan A. Bielinski, member of the board of the Julius Bär Foundation, handed over the prize money to the winners of the award for the art space as part of a public ceremony today at the Schiffbau in Zurich. The new Swiss Exhibition Award of the Julius Bär Foundation and the Federal Office of Culture will award a prize each year for an outstanding exhibition of Swiss contemporary art. It is endowed with CHF 40,000 and was now awarded for the first time.

Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser are the winners of the Swiss Exhibition Award for the exhibition "The Example" by Shahryar Nashat. The award-winning exhibition displays in detail a complete installation, from the creation process between the artist and curators up to visible final results, becoming tangible for the observer and bringing it together to form an understandable, logical whole.

Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser, together with the artist, created a refined dramatic composition, unfurled in a precisely staged and yet open space and works sequence including even the inscription of the artistic dispositive. The multi-part installation consisted of text, wonderfully choreographed video work as well as a lighting installation. The topical vanishing point of the work, a plastic monument, nevertheless, remained largely hidden from the visitor’s view. The exhibitors thus staged a sensual and conceptually conjured game of expectation and disappointment, of presence and absence.

The exhibition thus fit in nicely in the "attitudes" program pursued over the course of years placing the focus on the artist's individual work and providing ideal conditions for implementation, as the Jury found in its citation.

"attitudes" receives the prize for its years of enthusiasm for experimentation and openness, its passion for contemporary art and, above all, for its exemplary cooperation with the artists.

Jean-Frédéric Jauslin, Director of the Federal Office of Culture and Jan. A. Bielinski, member of the board for the Julius Bär Foundation awarded the CHF 40,000 in prize money to them as part of a public cereomony at the Schiffbau in Zurich. They also presented the winners with a hand-made bench as the visible and practical trophy for their art space. Jean-Paul Felley and Olivier Kaeser plan to use the money for an exhibition project in Beirut scheduled for 2010; to bring together artists from Switzerland and Europe as well as the Middle East on location in Beirut.

Olivier Kaeser (*1963) and Jean-Paul Felley (*1966) live in Paris and Geneva. They met in Geneva during their studies of art history. They established "attitudes" in 1994 and began to implement, under this name, contemporary art projects in other Swiss cities and abroad. They have been serving as the heads of the Centre culturel Suisse de Paris since October 1, 2008.

The Swiss Exhibition Award

Each year, the Swiss Exhibition Award awards an outstanding exhibition on Swiss contemporary art in a museum, art gallery, art association or off space. The prize steers public awareness toward a certain art institution and places in this manner—unique in its form—the focus on exhibition and communication work.

The Jury, consisting of art critics, curators, artists and college lecturers determined the winners as a group in a multi-staged, documented and transparent selection process. The Jury 2008 consisted of: Véronique Bacchetta, Centre d'édition contemporaine, Genève; Franziska Baetcke, Swiss Radio DRS, Basle; Barbara Basting, Swiss Radio DRS, Basle, Koni Bitterli, Art museum St. Gall; Bettina della Casa, Museo Cantonale d'Arte, Lugano; Andreas Fiedler, Institute for art history, University of Berne; Françoise Jaunin, journalist at 24heures, Lausanne; Max Wechsler, art publicist & translator, Luzern; Hans Rudolf Reust, President of the Federal Art Commission, Berne; Claude-Janine Ritschard, historienne d'art, Genève; Annette Schindler, Plug-in, Basle; Noah Stolz, La Rada edizione & spazio culturale, Locarno as well as Christian Zingg, managing director of the Julius Bär Foundation, Zurich.

A joint effort by the Julius Bär Foundation and the Federal Office of Culture (FOC)

The Swiss Exhibition Award represents a public-private partnership between the Julius Bär Foundation and the Federal Office of Culture (FOC). The engagement on the part of the Julius Bär Foundation can be viewed as part of the company’s responsibility to the society, in particular, vis-à-vis culture, but especially fine arts. With this prize, the FOC is strengthening its promotional activities through the use of prizes and awards in the area of communications. The goal is to support outstanding curatorial performances as it relates to institutions and artists and to stimulate the discussion on contemporary art and modern forms of communicating to the public.

About the Julius Bär Foundation

A portion of the cultural engagement by the Julius Bär Group is exercised by the Julius Bär Foundation. Focused orientation, broad personnel support on the Foundation Board as well as professional and technical independence lays the groundwork for long-term social-cultural engagement by the Julius Bär Group. The Julius Bär Foundation was established in 1965. The areas "promotion of youth, culture, science and social concerns" are defined as the foundation’s purpose. Furthermore, scientific and cultural proposals as well as charitable projects are supported on a case-by-case basis.

About FOC

The Federal Office for Culture (FOC) promotes cultural life in its diversity and creates the prerequisites to allow it to freely unfurl and develop.

It supports artistic creation in the branches film, fine arts and design. The FOC also manages valuable collections, libraries, archives and operates museums and formulates federal cultural policy. Organizationally, the FOC is divided into the areas: Cultural promotion, Swiss National Library and Swiss National Museum. The FOC is part of the Federal Department of Home Affairs.

Address for enquiries

Swiss Exhibition Award (presse), d.o.k-Zerbini, Romano Zerbini, Tél. +41 44 240 2200
Christian Zingg, directeur de la Fondation Julius Bär, Tél. +41 58 888 5212
Andreas Münch, chef du service Art, Office fédéral de la culture, Tél. +41 31 322 9270
Anne Weibel, responsable de la communication, Office fédéral de la culture, Tél: +41 31 322 7985
Media Relations, Bank Julius Bär & Co. AG, Tél. +41 58 888 8888
Correspondance: d.o.k-Zerbini, case postale, 8026 Zurich,


Federal Office of Cultural Affairs