Simon Denny and Karsten Födinger Garner Art Basel’s Baloise Art Prize

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Simon Denny. (Courtesy Baloise)

It’s raining money over there at Art Basel! Someone just snapped up a Richter that was reportedly priced above $20 million at Pace’s booth. On the more modest end of the spectrum, young artists Simon Denny and Karsten Födinger are set to receive checks for 30,000 Swiss francs ($31,300) as the winner’s of the fair’s annual Baloise Art Prize, which goes to the best contributions to its Art Statements section.

In addition, the Baloise Group—its a Basel-based insurance and pension company—will acquire a number of works by Messrs. Denny and Födinger for the Hamburger Kunsthalle, in Hamburg, Germany, and the MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, in Vienna. So those 30,000 Swiss francs are really just a bonus.

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Karsten Fodinger. (Courtesy Baloise)

The prize’s jury has picked some solid winners over the years, including Alejandro Cesarco (2011), Simon Fujiwara (2010), Nina Canell (2009), Tris Vonna-Michell (2008), Jim Drain (2005) and Aleksander Mir (2004).

This year’s jury—comprised of Brigitte Kölle, Karola Kraus, Thomas Koerfer, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Martin Schwander—released statements explaining the works, which we present in their complete form in the space below, accompanied by photographs:

‘Simon Denny investigates the changing role of the media and television in an age of rapid technological progress. In his large-scale installation Channel Document, he addresses the restructuring of the media and its social consequences. At the core of his work is the threatened existence of the television channel TVNZ 7, whose objective is to provide non-commercial, digitally broadcast programmes on current affairs. State funding of the channel has been cut off and despite numerous public petitions, the end seems inevitable. The artist has commissioned a documentary on the redesign of New Zealand’s passport that marks the last step in the time-line of the channel. The video, which follows the structure and style characteristic of TVNZ 7, is screened on Samsung’s latest flatscreen monitor.’

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“Channel Document,” Mr. Denny’s installation. (Courtesy Baloise)

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“Defensive Reinforcement,” Mr. Fodinger’s installation. (Courtesy Baloise)

‘Karsten Födinger is a sculptor whose site-specific works make no attempt to conceal the character of the buildings and their imperfections. Often constructed out of simple building materials, his works are visual embodiments of physical forces. A cross between architecture and sculpture, they are informed with the tension between stasis and movement, diagonal and horizontal, mass and void. The piece on view at Art Statements makes reference to a historic event in Basel: the cataclysmic earthquake of 1356. Födinger„s sculptural intervention of horizontal and vertical wooden beams both stabilizes and obstructs the interior of the art fair stand, creating a paradoxical spatial configuration.’