The Federal Office of Culture is presenting the 18th Swiss Grand Award for Art / Prix Meret Oppenheim to three outstanding personalities from Switzerland’s cultural scene whose artistic and architectural work has international impact: artists Sylvie Fleury and Thomas Hirschhorn, as well as architect Luigi Snozzi. The laureates will be honored together with the winners of the Swiss Art Awards on 11 June 2018 in Basel.

Glamour, fashion and luxury are placed on the podium of art in Sylvie Fleury’s work which uses installations and mixed media to construct a paradigm of the new age within consumerist culture. In the spirit of Duchamp’s readymades and Andy Warhol’s Pop Art, brands and logos are exaggerated and deified as a way to comment on superficiality and collective obsession with products. Emerging in the early 90’s, Sylvie Fleury has since held a significant position on the international art stage.

Fuelled by an unyielding desire to defend the democratic values of society, Thomas Hirschhorn has developed a unique artistic language that tackles issues of global politics and consumerism. From his spatial collages to his ephemeral monuments and installations, Hirschhorn consistently engages the viewer through superabundance amid absorbing environments. Created from the most basic everyday materials, his monumental works are concerned with justice and injustice, power and powerlessness, and moral responsibility.

Architect and professor emeritus Luigi Snozzi is considered a leading figure and theoretician emerging from the Ticino school. His characteristic style of exposed concrete as well as his stance toward urban planning interventions have influenced and empowered many generations of architects after him. Snozzi’s built work is the emblem of an architecture that does not submit, but instead assumes its presence to create a new place, and a fertile ground for positive confrontation. With an acute critical view on the conditions and limits of the profession, Luigi Snozzi embodies the ideal of an architect who holds political, cultural and human values.

“The approaches of the three winners could not be more different – their visionary works reflect the diversity of today’s world. And that is what ultimately unites them: their concern to understand the world in its complexity and to shape the present in a way that opens up new perspectives.” — Giovanni Carmine (President of the Federal Art Committee)