Zurich Art Prize 2020
curated by Sabine Schaschl
29 October 2020 to 17 January 2021
Opening days: 29 October and 30 October
There will be no opening event for this exhibition.
Instead, admission is free for everyone on the opening days: Thursday 29 October and Friday 30 October.
The Zurich Art Prize, awarded annually by Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd, goes in 2020 to Amalia Pica (b. in 1978 in Neuquén, lives and works in London). This Argentine-British artist is the thirteenth winner of the internationally renowned award. The prize is endowed with CHF 100,000, of which CHF 20,000 go to the respective winner and the other CHF 80,000 are used for the production of a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv.
Amalia Pica’s installations, sculptures, drawings, films, photographs and performances are characterized by a playful minimalist language of forms and multilayered content. The themes that Pica often incorporates into her artwork include verbal and nonverbal communication, as well as civic participation. How does communication work on the basis of language, symbols, objects and gestures? How do these relate to political and societal structures? And how can such structures be made visible, or even changed, by artistic interventions in communication media?
At Museum Haus Konstruktiv, under the title Round table (and other forms), Amalia Pica presents a newly produced work, along with an earlier one. They bear witness to this interest in the relationship between communication and artistic practice as civil participation. In both works, the artist purposefully explores the role of joy and pleasure in coping with the pressure that builds up as a result of bureaucratic structures or monotonous office work, for example. Thus, on the first two floors of the museum, an inspiring show has been developed, which wittily reflects on the form and function of office paraphernalia (conference tables, A4 paper sheets, plastic wallets and office stamps) as well as on their organizational power with regard to our social fabric. To no small extent, Pica’s (thought) experiment resonates in the time of COVID-19, which has also profoundly changed our everyday office life.
Amalia Pica enthused the Zurich Art Prize jury by means of her precise engagement with political and sociological themes, based on scientific research and findings. The fact that Pica, with her formal language, shares the same thematic focus as Museum Haus Konstruktiv, was already established in the 2019 group exhibition Concrete Contemporary.
Amalia Pica, Work in the background: (un)heard, 2016. Collection Cc Foundation, Shanghai. Courtesy the artist and Herald St, London (1)
Rearranging the Conference Table (Production still), 2020. Courtesy the artist, König Galerie, Berlin, and Herald St, London. Photo: Rafael Ortega Ayala (2)
Joy in Paperwork: The Archive (2016), Installation view The New Art Gallery Walsall, 2019. Courtesy the artist and Herald St, London. Image: David Rowan/The New Art Gallery Walsall (3/4)