In 2021, the Zurich Art Prize Goes to Sonia Kacem

Wednesday, November 18, 2020
In 2021, the Zurich Art Prize Goes to Sonia Kacem

The Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd announce the 14th winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize: In 2021, this art award goes to Swiss-Tunisian artist Sonia Kacem (b. 1985 in Geneva, lives and works in Amsterdam). The prize is endowed with CHF 100,000, comprising a CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition and CHF 20,000 in prize money.

Image: Sonia Kacem, Between the scenes
Installation view Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, 2019-2020. Photo: Thorsten Arendt

 

The Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd announce the 14th winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize: In 2021, this art award goes to Swiss-Tunisian artist Sonia Kacem (b. 1985 in Geneva, lives and works in Amsterdam). The prize is endowed with CHF 100,000, comprising a CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition and CHF 20,000 in prize money.

 

Sonia Kacem, winner of Zurich Art Prize 2021. Photo: Gunnar Meier

 

The Zurich Art Prize jury expressed enthusiasm about Sonia Kacem’s transcultural and transdisciplinary examination of geometric abstraction, as it broadens the perspective on the history of constructivist-concrete art, which Museum Haus Konstruktiv has been helping to write for decades. The jury also found the diversity of her sculptural presentations interesting and is curious to see the formal solutions that Kacem will develop for the spaces at Museum Haus Konstruktiv.

Sonia Kacem’s artwork revolves around her sensitivity towards materials that she extracts from our everyday consumption cycle: These include very different kinds of processed products, sometimes obtained from second-hand or online stores, such as sunblind fabrics, lampshades or medical stockings, but also commercially available substances and commodities like vinyl, paint, wood or clay. The artist uses them to create large-scale sculptural arrangements, in which she plays with our expectations regarding the nature and function of the materials. Striped textiles, for example, are draped and presented in such a way that they acquire a surprising corporeality, whereby Kacem is particularly interested in the transitions from abstraction to figuration and from surface to volume. Her presentations allow manifold associations to be made and they formally refer to various periods in art history. Influences from minimal art are just as evident as those from Italian baroque or Arab-Islamic arts.

 

Sonia Kacem, Between the scenes
Installation view Westfälischer Kunstverein, Münster, 2019-2020. Photo: Thorsten Arendt

 

In 2019, Sonia Kacem stayed in Cairo on a studio residency. The aim of her research was, among other things, to develop an understanding of Middle Eastern non-figurative art, the function and significance of which differ from those of abstraction in the Western history of modernist art and culture. Back in Amsterdam and over the course of the corona pandemic, Kacem continued her exploration of Cairo remotely. The artist invited an anthropologist, a cartoonist, and an architect with close ties to Egyptian culture to collectively reflect on colors and ornament in relation to Cairo’s built environment.

Sonia Kacem’s solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv will be on view from 28 October 2021 to 16 January 2022.

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