On 12 June it was announced that Lebanese artist Lawrence Abu Hamdan and Korean artist Suki Seokyeong won the 20th edition of the Baloise Art Prize at this year’s edition of Art Basel in Switzerland. Presented to artists in the Statements sector of the fair, this year’s jury included Marie-Noëlle Farcy, curator/Head of Collection, MUDAM, Luxembourg; Gabriele Knapstein, head of Hamburger Bahnhof - Museum für Gegenwart, Nationalgalerie Berlin; Martin Hatebur, Chairman Basler Kunstverein/Kunsthalle Basel; Philippe Pirotte, Rector Städelschule Frankfurt; and Martin Schwander, fine art advisor of Baloise, chairman of the jury.
Abu Hamdan, who recently won the 2018 Abraaj Group Art Prize at Art Dubai in March, is currently being exhibited by Parisian gallery mor charpentier at the fair in the Statements sector at booth N3. His audio-investigative political practice walks the line between forensics and art, and it was his multi-video-sound installation The whole time there were no land mines (2017) saw the artist stand apart. The piece presents the May 2011 crossing of a group of Palestinians from Syria into in Golan Heights. With a montage of cell phone footage and audio recordings in the style of media reportage and layman documentation, uneasiness resonates throughout the work, which is localised to a valley called the 'Shouting Valley' due to the separation of families after the Israeli annexing of the zone. The audio plays segments of the found footage as well as recordings of segregated families communicating. “The way in which this work combines topographical situation, politically defined borders and concrete infringement of the borders generates a fascinating, interrelated whole,” said Baloise group in a statement following the announcement.
Each artist will receive a monetary prize of CHF 30,000. Their works will be acquired by Baloise for donation to the Nationalgalerie – Staatliche Museen zu Berlin and MUDAM, Luxembourg.