Stefanie Gschwend, Director Kunstmuseum / Kunsthalle Appenzell
The Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation awards a yearly working scholarship to artists under 35 years of age. In cooperation with different exhibition venues, the award competition has been held in various European countries since 1983. The award, which comes with a prize money of 60,000 Swiss francs, is one of the most highly endowed grants for young artists in Europe. The scholarship was initiated by the founder Ilse Leda, the wife of the artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962).
The winner of the grant will be selected by an independent international jury on the basis of a group exhibition that the Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation is organising this year together with the Kunstmuseum Appenzell. The exhibition shows a cross-section of young, contemporary art and brings together twelve artists who are working in Switzerland. The nominees were selected from almost 120 artistic positions. A wide spectrum of media, ranging from painting, sculpture, installation, photography, ceramics, drawing, performance, text, video to sound, reflect the diverse artistic practices. In the twelve rooms of the Kunstmuseum Appenzell, the nominated artists show their work.
Alfredo Aceto (*1991, Turin, ITA, lives and works in Geneva, CH)
Natacha Donzé (*1991, Boudevilliers, CH, lives and works in Lausanne, CH)
marc norbert hörler (dey/er, *1989, Appenzell, CH, lives and works in Appenzell, CH and Berlin, DE)
Maya Hottarek (*1990, Chironico, CH, lives and works between ITA and CH)
Jeanne Jacob (*1994, Neuchâtel, lives and works in Biel/Bienne, CH)
Roman Selim Khereddine (*1989, Zurich, CH)
Robin Mettler (*1993, Cormoret, CH, lives and works in Bern, CH)
Martina Morger (*1989, Vaduz, LI / Appenzell, CH, lives and works in Balzers, LI and Hanover, DE)
Anina Müller (*1997, St. Gallen / Appenzell, CH, lives and works in Basel, CH)
Tina Omayemi Reden (*1991, Zurich, CH)
Nina Rieben (*1992, Bern, CH, lives and works in Bern and Basel, CH)
Yanik Soland (*1990, Basel, CH)
The winner of the Vordemberge-Gildewart Scholarship 2023 is Tina Omayemi Reden.
Alfredo Aceto explores in his installation the mazelike references of different elements and images, linked by juxtapositions, translations and anecdotes. His objects, sculptures and photographs come together in an obsessive narrative that converges in the figure of Sergio Marchionne (1952-2018) - an Italian-Canadian and Swiss-based entrepreneur and manager - forming a fragmented reflection on power structures. Common to the objects is also the relationship to corporeality, which can appear present or absent, in relation to the artist himself, his tongue, his language, his gesture or to his protagonist.
In her work, Natacha Donzé interrogates social codes, stereotypes, commonplaces and fables of popular culture. Her pictorial compositions isolate, repeat or combine form, surface, colour and symbols from the most diverse cultural areas, the digital or natural world. In her latest paintings, the artist creates a multi-layered formal language in which the relationship between the figurative and abstract elements of the canvas is left open.
marc norbert hörler's practice includes poetry, song, scent, writing, performance, curating and publishing. marc composes spatial, acoustic and olfactory environments with an interest in sensory storytelling. In the works, marc interacts with folkloric forms or aesthetics of Appenzell (CH), such as witchcraft or witch trials, and claims them from a queer perspective. marc traces the sensual connections between contemporary queerness and historical realities by using song, scent and language as ephemeral forms of existence and by focusing on magical practices.
Maya Hottarek works with craft techniques such as ceramics or glassblowing. Her enigmatic objects, which are often suspended from the ceiling, form a mystical landscape reminiscent of winding paths, root systems or dripping grottos. Sometimes the artist activates them with incense sticks, water, light or, in collaboration with the composer Julian Zehnder, with sound. In the sculptures, she reflects the independent nature and interactive behaviour of eurokaryotic cells; the smallest form of all living beings. The microorganisms exist on their own and at the same time in exchange with the ecosystem, thereby allowing Hottarek to think beyond the boundaries of species, genders, classes and families.
Jeanne Jacob's artistic work mainly comprises painting, performance and drawing. Her work is influenced by political activism and her involvement in collectives, and is inspired by queer-feminist theories and contemporary sociology. Jacob paints people and bodies that display themselves in an immediate and unblinking way and addresses the most hidden areas of intimacy without mincing words. Often surrounded and protected by an innocently depicted nature, the figures populate the picture surface, creating an intimacy with their counterparts. Sensual and intimate, tender and untamable, comic and vulnerable, they are in a kind of limbo where ideals are subverted and contradictions are possible.
Roman Selim Khereddine is concerned with social, economic and cultural issues, which he approaches with video, drawing, painting, text, object and installation. He creates references to the religious and the symbolic, whereby his interest lies in the relationship structures and power relations between people, but also in the violent relationship between humans and animals. The artist creates no coherent narratives, but explores his themes essayistically, by means of anecdotes, quotations or sayings, digressions or detours and pauses. The voids reveal what resonates in all his works: the questioning of his own method and the constructs of narrative.
In his sculptural works, Robin Mettler deals with the transformation potential of material, which he works on with unexpected technical and craft interventions. He combines water transfer printing, as known from the tuning scene, with rococo stucco, evokes the effect of stone, marble or granite with polystyrene and building foam, or combines stylistic elements from different epochs and cultural contexts to unsettle our perception by playing with the appearance of materiality. His sculptures often have in common the valorisation of inexpensive building materials.
Martina Morger creates socio-critical performances and installations that often arise according to the situation and relate to the location. Central questions revolve around individual freedom and its relationship to the technologised world of life or to constructions of gender roles. The artist examines the role of the claim to perform in our consumer-driven society and what effect power structures have on the body. She sees her work as a positioning within the existing system and, on the other hand, as an assertion against that very system. Morger creates narrative utopias between care and desire, conveying a contradictory longing for freedom and the visualisation of control.
Anina Müller's artistic medium is language, whereby her interest lies primarily in its influence on people. She writes monologues and texts on topics such as love and clichés, expectations and desires or companionship and loneliness, and in them confronts reality with fictional narratives that can range to the absurd. In her exploration of these topics, the artist repeatedly reflects on stereotypical role models, touches on the fragile boundary between violence and pleasure or contrasts the lightness of the narrative with the heaviness of the content.
Tina Omayemi Reden works transdisciplinarily as an artist, teacher and cultural worker. Her practice focuses on collaborations and the exploration of political possibilities, which she reflects in practices of caring and listening and the resulting relationships, longings and desires. Reden works with installations, sound narratives, video or performances. Her work aims to create moments of interaction and gathering to further explore possibilities at the intersections of listening practices, community spaces and collective histories.
Nina Rieben raises questions about which reality we trust and how we construct it in the interstices of abstraction and association, feeling and knowledge or the personal and social norms. Using photography, objects and language, she allows traces of texts, materials and images to collide spatially as anecdotal descriptions of conditions. We often encounter stereotypically romantic motifs, such as day and night, windows or the moon, confronted with a sleek and cold aesthetic. Rieben thus disarms the elements of their symbolic value and fuses them with what she calls "unstable sensuality" – a state on the border between emotion and irony, between pathos and emptiness.
Yanik Soland's work juxtaposes composition and sound with visual media such as drawing or installation. His drawings are populated by personal and mystical figures and hybrid creatures reminiscent of the fragments of the Parthenon relief, creatures from science fiction novels or the supernatural creatures of Japanese folklore "Ashinaga Tenaga". They merge into a melting pot of traditions and explore aesthetic aspects of human and anthropomorphic forms. For his performances, Soland works with self-built instruments, modular synthesizers, electric bass and voice. As a composer, he has written music for theatre and developed video or performance soundtracks and audio pieces. In 2021 he released his first solo album YUKI.