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A platform for promising Swiss artists

The Fossil and Climate Change Museum in Wadi Hitan, Faiyum Desert, Egypt, 2016 Noha Mokhtar

The Cahiers d’Artistes collection is a long-running initiative by the Swiss Arts Council, Pro Helvetia, that enables an up-and-coming Swiss artist to publish their first monograph. The specialist books offer insights into current trends on the Swiss art scene every two years.

This content was published on October 10, 2021 - 11:00

Every two years, an external jury recommends new artists who have replied to a public invitation to tender by Pro Helvetia. Those selected receive funding for a small monograph, a “Cahier.” The specialist books are produced in close cooperation with the artists and are accompanied by texts written by critics.

“For artists it represents a unique opportunity to raise their profiles on the international art scene with a text written by a critic,” Josiane Imhasly, a specialist in visual arts at Pro Helvetia, tells SWI swissinfo.ch. “Developing the Cahier d’ArtistesExternal link gives artists a chance to exchange ideas and get another perspective on their work in cooperation with graphic designers and authors.”

The Cahiers d’Artistes was launched 35 years ago. It has offered a platform to renowned artists such as Pipilotti Rist, Fischli/Weiss, and Claudia Comte. The following artists will have Cahiers published this year:

For Sandra Knecht, cooking is art. She has cooked for years for a wide group of people at “Chnächt,” a barn which she transported to Basel. Knecht seeks out identity via aromas and flavours and connects these to the history and politics of a region. She sees food as the key to the questions of who we are and how we could live more sustainably. Sandra Knecht, born in 1968, lives and works in Buus in canton Basel-Country. Links: My land is your land, 2020 Foto: Eva Kurz. Rechts: Bœuf sous-vide, 2017, Foto: Katharina Lütscher
Elena Montesinos is a cultural provocateur. Her artistic and curatorial projects are not always realised: for example, when she planned to distribute small change in a Swiss station, dressed in a “Black Block burqa” sewn from anarchist campaign flags. Her Cahier d’Artistes, with the title UNRELEASED, will show 20 unpublished projects. Elena Montesinos, born in 1971, lives and works in Geneva. Foto: Laurent Guiraud / Elena Montesinos
Many of Andreas Hochuli’s images look like desktop icons gone wrong, with a hint of melancholy. The painter is interested in people, their relationships and identities. His work includes references to sociology, music and art history. In his painting, he explores symbols and their cultural backgrounds and merges computer imaging with painting. Andreas Hochuli, born in 1982 in Zurich, lives and works in Geneva. Seiten aus dem Cahiers d’Artistes, 2021
Marie Matusz shows black-and-white photographs from the home of her great-grandmother, a richly decorated house with countless reproductions of classic paintings. The date on the photos indicates that they were taken in 1994 – a technical error that fascinates Matusz, whose work deals with philosophical questions about the dissolution of time and space. Marie Matusz, born in 1994 in Toulouse, lives and works in Basel and Geneva. To See and to Be Seen, 2016 Analoge Fotografien
Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, who are both enthusiastic readers, create works from an array of sources. They try to increasingly distance themselves from academic discourse and get closer to folklore and other popular sources such as myths, stories about magic and court documents from witch trials. The main theme of their work is our connection to nature and technology, and gender questions. Dorota Gawęda, born in Lublin, Poland, in 1986, and Eglė Kulbokaitė, born in Kaunas, Lithuania, in 1987, both live and work in Basel. Links: Video still Rechts: Tintenstrahldruck auf Archivierungspapier, ©The arits
Roman Gysin has a fondness for everyday decorations and campness. Many of his works look like studies for mutant haute couture designs. For his Cahier d’Artistes, he took inspiration from fashion and home-décor magazines and set photographs in dialogue with his own skilfully handcrafted works. Roman Gysin, born in Möhlin in 1984, lives and works in Zurich. Hanging out with strangers 4, 2019 Holz, Stoff, Leim, Kreide, Metall, 195 x 115 x 10 cm
Ramaya Tegegne’s goal is to achieve better working conditions and reasonable pay for artists, which she reflects in her art. She highlights the mechanics of domination and power structures in the cultural world and campaigns for alternative, fair business practices. Ramaya Tegegne’s Cahier d’Artistes gives an overview of her artistic projects and, of course, exposes the economic conditions under which they were produced. Ramaya Tegegne, born in 1985 in Geneva, lives and works in the city. Shermans (Drag), 2018. Foto: : Annik Wetter / Version #6: Mike Kelley, Tony Oursler, Anita Pace, 2014. Foto: Anaïs Defago
Noha Mokhtar’s work, encompassing photography, installations and objects, is inspired by ethnographic research methods. It explores how architectural rooms and objects relate to various manifestations of power. In the Cahier d’Artistes, Mokhtar combines her own photography with images she has found as well as objects and short texts. Noha Mokhtar, born in Geneva in 1987, lives and works in Zurich and New York. Cimaises, 2016 Mit Lucas Uhlmann Ausstellungsansicht Meaning Can Only Grow out of Intimacy. Espace Arlaud, Lausanne

The current Cahiers d’Artistes collection was presented at the Swiss Art Awards 2021, which took place from September 20-26 at the Messe Basel trade and exhibition centre.

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