Helvetia Art Prize

Prize winner 2023: Bisso Yann Stéphane 

The paintings of Bisso Yann Stéphane (*1998) speak of journeys, dreams and the merging of time and space. The artist understands the canvas as a surface for the projection of possibilities – a surface to understand what lies behind, in front of and next to us. In a unique visual language of straddling landscapes, portraiture and abstraction, Bisso Yann Stéphane merges memories of a personal history with depictions of a perceived present as well as future hopes and aspirations in a dreamlike space of fantasy.

In the painting "un arbre a palabres" (2023) different worlds from different times and geographical locations fuse into a hybrid dreamscape. It is one of three paintings comprising the series “Drift” (2023), for which he received the Helvetia Art Prize 2023. Drawing on theories by Edouard Glissant and the concept of creolization, the three paintings open an intimate reflection on themes of rootedness, identity and our understanding of place and time. 

The Helvetia Art Prize 2023 jury – consisting of Kathleen Bühler (Kunstmuseum Bern), Joanna Kamm (Liste Art Fair Basel), Nathalie Loch (Helvetia Art Collection), Victoria Mühlig (Musée d’art de Pully) and Maja Wismer (Kunstmuseum Basel) – was impressed by Bisso Yann Stéphane’s unique approach to landscape painting and the shaped canvas. The series “Drift” convinced the jury with its playful narrations as well as the topicality of the underlying discourse.

The judging for the Helvetia Art Prize 2023 took place in May 2023 as part of the exhibition project “Plattform” at Espace Arlaud in Lausanne. This annual exhibition presents a selection of new works by the most promising graduates from various Swiss art schools. 

Bisso Yann Stéphane, un arbre à palabres, 2023. Ausstellungsansicht Platform23, Espace Arlaud, Lausanne. Photo by Margot Sparkes.
Bisso Yann Stéphane, un arbre à palabres, 2023. Ausstellungsansicht Platform23, Espace Arlaud, Lausanne. Photo by Margot Sparkes.

Committed to the Arts

The Helvetia Art Prize is an important part of the internationally active insurance group’s commitment to art. The prize, which was launched in 2004, is intended as start-up aid for graduates of Swiss art schools and underlines the company’s long-standing commitment to Swiss art. It specifically promotes artists who are at the beginning of their careers. While the company’s own collection of contemporary Swiss art – which is considered one of the most important of its kind – focuses primarily on painting, drawing and photography, the sponsorship award for young artists is open to a wider array of artistic practices. This is intended to give resonance to new ideas and art forms explored by the upcoming generation of artists. The prize includes financial support of CHF 15,000 and an exhibition at Liste Art Fair Basel.

Past winners who exhibited at Liste Art Fair Basel include Jonas Van Holanda (2022), Anita Mucolli (2021), Tiphanie Kim Mall (2020), Kaspar Ludwig (2019), Gina Proenza (2018), Andriu Deplazes (2017), STELLA (2016) and Dijan Kahrimanovic (2015).



HEK (House of Electronic Arts)

HEK (House of Electronic Arts) in Basel is a museum dedicated to digital culture and new art forms of the information age. As a Special Guest of Liste Art Fair Basel 2024, HEK is presenting three artistic positions that use worldbuilding as an artistic tool, showing interactive and immersive works by Mélanie Courtinat, Andy Picci and Moritz Piehl.

In recent years, gaming has become an important field of reference in contemporary art. 3D sculpting software and game engines have become natural tools for artistic expression. Worldbuilding strategies, such as imagining and creating a narrative, characters and an environment for alternative worlds, have also gained traction in discussions around the metaverse. The question of how we shape and move around within these emerging digital landscapes is becoming increasingly pressing. 

Works by the three exhibited artists present viewers with a variety of imaginative solutions of how we can inhabit these new digital spaces. Mélanie Courtinat’s "Ten Lands" (2021) is a walking simulator videogame with 10 incredibly atmospheric immersive landscapes to explore. "Cloud 3.0" (2023) by Andy Picci is an exhibition space, studio and virtual home built by the artist in the metaverse Spatial that visitors can dive into with a VR headset. In his installation "An Image of Love" (2021), Moritz Piel remixes reality TV and social media into new physical landscapes, questioning how online lifestyles shape physical space.


Moritz Piehl, Omg it’s reality, 2023, UV Print on Alu Dibond, 170 x 100 cm, courtesy of the artist.
Moritz Piehl, Omg it’s reality, 2023, UV Print on Alu Dibond, 170 x 100 cm, courtesy of the artist.

do you read me?! – Berlin’s art bookshop at Liste

Liste Art Fair Basel is excited to team up with Berlin’s do you read me?! to create the fair’s first-ever bookstore featuring a handpicked selection of unique and exciting printed matter from the fields of contemporary art and culture.

do you read me?! is a renowned haven for book and magazine enthusiasts nestled on a serene street in Berlin’s Mitte district. The little shop boasts an inspiring curation of printed matter, catering to the diverse tastes of print aficionados. From publications on art, photography and design to fashion, architecture, literature, music, film and food, do you read me?! offers a captivating panorama of the contemporary printed realm. At the pop-up bookstore at Liste, visitors will discover an exciting assortment of the latest contemporary art books as well as a selected number of art magazines. 

do you read me?! will be located on the Piazza in the middle of the fair hall.

Can't make it to the fair? Sorry you missed a title and want to explore their full selection? You can always browse and order online at www.doyoureadme.de

Email: info@doyoureadme.de
Instagram: @doyoureadme_berlin

do you read me?! Berlin
do you read me?! Berlin

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