Fondazione Merz is pleased to present an exhibition of the six finalists selected for the Art Section of the Mario Merz Prize’s 4th Edition: Yto Barrada (Paris, 1971), Paolo Cirio (Turin, 1979), Christina Forrer (Zurich, 1978), Anne Hardy (UK, 1970), He Xiangyu (China, 1986) and Koo Jeong A (Seoul, 1967).
The artists selected approach the contemporary by not confining themselves to statements of complexity, but by penetrating its meaning with a dissonant approach and visionary ability. Through their individual practices, each with its own linguistic and formal approaches, the artists invite us to experiment without fears of compatibility.
Yto Barrada combines references to artists like Frank Stella with the experience of the artists from the School of Casablanca of the 1960s, in order to assert an autonomous history and identity which go beyond official narratives.
Paolo Cirio symbolically sabotages the mechanisms of identification and social recognition, pointing to the dangers of a system based on authorised control.
Through the ancient art of weaving and fantastical language, Christina Forrer highlights the need to tackle family, social and political conflicts, as well as those between people and the environment, by stopping the erroneous post-historic narrative which follows the end of each conflict.
Anne Hardy creates environments which hover between dream and hallucination, saturating the colours and creating an archaeology of repertoires of the present, as she attempts to glimpse the future in the gaps between the known and the unknown.
Koo Jeong A challenges transience and plays with the luminous energy of the world in order to reinterpret perception, and physical and mental spaces, capable of expressing new relationships between things and between the individual and the collective.
He Xiangyu investigates social and art mechanisms, as well as belonging and consumerist idolatries through irony, while proposing a symbolic revolution which of consumerist references and priorities
The artists were shortlisted by members of the pre-selection judging panel, Claudia Gioia (Independent Curator), Samuel Gross (Special Project Manager del Musée d’Art e d’Histoire of Geneve) and Beatrice Merz (President, Fondazione Merz).
The public is invited to vote for their favourite artist by logging onto the website (mariomerzprize.org) to view and judge the artwork online. The public vote will be added to the votes cast by the Jury, whose members are: Manuel Borja-Villel (Director Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid), Massimiliano Gioni (Head Curator New Museum, New York – Art Director Fondazione Trussardi, Milan), Caroline Bourgeois (curator Pinault Collection, Paris), and Beatrice Merz.
The winner will be commissioned to produce a new site-specific solo exhibition at Fondazione Merz.