Helvetia Art Prize

Helvetia Insurance is taking part at Liste Art Fair Basel 2021 for the 18th time with the Helvetia Art Prize, which supports graduates from Swiss art schools at the start of their professional careers. The support provided by the prize is twofold: On the one hand, the winners receive financial support of 15,000 CHF, and on the other hand, they have the opportunity to present their work to an international professional audience and a broad public with an exhibition at Liste Art Fair Basel. This year, Helvetia is taking a look back at the history of the Helvetia Art Prize with a project featuring five previous winners.

Helvetia Art Prize Winner 2020: Tiphanie Kim Mall
‘Hauskatze’, 2020

For her cinematic work ‘Hauskatze’ (House Cat, 2020), Tiphanie Kim Mall equipped her cat’s collar with a camera. The resulting video follows the house cat over a period of almost six months. Viewers perceive the environment shown and individual fragments of space from the cat's perspective. The camera records both everyday and supposedly intimate moments, showing how not only the pet but also the artist becomes the observed. The video work thus opens up an ambivalent tightrope walk between documentation and observation.

Helvetia Art Prize Winners 2013: Michael Meier & Christoph Franz ‘In grossen Zeiten städtischen Lebens’, 2021

In their work developed for this year's Liste Art Fair Basel, Michael Meier & Christoph Franz deal with the question of land and the influence of ownership on urban development. For this purpose, the two artists deal with the boundaries of properties in the city of Basel and focus on their survey points, which appear in the form of small, round brass objects in the street pavement, thus assigning the ground to different owners. They are interested in plots of land that will experience a large increase in value in the near future. From such a plot, Meier & Franz take the existing boundary points and transform them into an art object that references value and trade.

18 years of the Helvetia Art Prize:
Luc Mattenberger (2007), Elisa Larvego (2010) and Andriu Deplazes (2017)

Over the years, numerous works by former award winners have found their way into the Helvetia Art Collection. With this project, Helvetia presents representative works by three prize winners from previous years.

Tiphanie Kim Mall, video still from: Hauskatze, 2020.
Tiphanie Kim Mall, video still from: Hauskatze, 2020.

Anita Mucolli is the winner of the 2021 Helvetia Art Prize

The 2021 Helvetia Art Prize goes to Anita Mucolli (*1993). She is a graduate of the Bachelor's in Fine Arts at FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. The Helvetia Art Prize is an award for young artists and includes prize money of 15,000 francs and the possibility to stage a solo exhibition at Liste Art Fair Basel.

Anita Mucolli (*1993) is the winner of the 2021 Helvetia Art Prize. The winner holds a Bachelor's degree from the FHNW Academy of Art and Design in Basel. Inspired by Jonathan Crary's book "24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep", she uses various media and technical precision to tackle the issue of how late capitalist systems aim to penetrate even further into human biology and needs. The jury is impressed by the reflected, complex rendering of the subject.

In her latest work, "The Bank of Dreams" (2021), which is currently on show at the Plattform21 exhibi-tion at the Museo d'arte della Svizzera italiana (MASI) in Lugano, she addresses a future scenario in which capitalism is appropriating technological progress, entering the human subconscious and com-mercializing dreams.

In the foyer of the Palazzo Reali museum building in Lugano, which is architecturally reminiscent of a bank, Anito Mucolli has installed an ATM. It remains unclear in this ambiguous scenario between reality and fiction whether the machine is real or a work of art. The outer frame of the ATM is made of scagliola, which resembles marble. Its design picks up the classical style of the architecture. In the middle, a flat screen shows video ads for the bank and its innovative technology. Once the music and voice from the adverts are heard over the speakers, it emerges that this is no ordinary ATM, rather dreams are being sold here: test-driving your dream car, trying on special clothing, seeing loved ones again or even visiting alluring locations.

Anita Mucolli's work can been seen at the Plattform21 exhibition at MASI (Museo d'arte della Svizze-ra italiana) in Lugano from 22 August to 5 September 2021.

This year's Helvetia Art Prize jury comprises Francesca Benini (Curator at MASILugano), Kathleen Bühler (Head Curator at the Museum of Fine Arts Bern), Julian Denzler (Curator at the Museum zu Allerheiligen Schaffhausen), Joanna Kamm (Director of the Liste Art Fair Basel), Andreas Karcher (Head of Helvetia's Art Department) and Nathalie Loch (Curator of Helvetia's Art Department)

Start-up assistance as part of cultural commitment

With the Art Prize, Helvetia Insurance supports young artists at the beginning of their career. The Helvetia Art Prize is aimed at the graduates of Swiss universities of applied sciences in the field of fine arts and media art. The prize is a double form of assistance: on the one hand, the winner receives prize money of 15,000 francs, and, on the other hand, the opportunity to present his or her work to an international specialist audience and the general public with a solo exhibition at the Liste Art Fair Basel 2022. Since being founded in 1996, the Liste has been committed to actively promoting galleries and artists in the young and middle generations.

The Helvetia Art Prize is a key aspect of the international insurance group's commitment to art. The prize has been awarded each year since 2004. Initially known as the Nationale Suisse Art Prize, it has been named the Helvetia Art Prize since the merger of Helvetia and Nationale Suisse. Helvetia, which also insures art, has one of the most important collections of contemporary Swiss art, stretching back more than 70 years. The collection focuses on paintings, drawings and photography. Since 2015 Helvetia has had its own, publicly accessible display space in the form of the Helvetia Art Foyer at its head office in Basel. Here, thematic exhibitions featuring works from its own collection or solo presentations by artists are staged.

Anita Mucolli's work "The Plattform21Bank of Dreams" (2021) can be seen at the Plattform21 exhibition at MASILugano until 5 September 2021.

22 August – 5 September 2021

Opening hours:
Tues / Wed/ Fri: 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Thurs: 11 a.m.–8 p.m.
Sat / Sun / public holidays: 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Mon: Closed

Museo d’arte della Svizzera italiana
Via Canova 10, 6900 Lugano


Anita Mucolli, The Bank of Dreams, 2021. Vista dell'installazione Plattform21, MASILugano, 2021. Foto: Mattia Angelini.
Anita Mucolli, The Bank of Dreams, 2021. Vista dell'installazione Plattform21, MASILugano, 2021. Foto: Mattia Angelini.

Helvetia Art Prize since 2004

The Helvetia Art Prize is meant to support a graduate of a Swiss university majoring in “visual and media art” and is awarded annually to a young emerging artist at the start of his or her career. The promotional prize consists of a monetary award of  CHF 15,000 and a solo exhibition at Liste and underlines the company’s long-term commitment to Swiss art. 

Winners since 2004:
2020: Tiphanie Kim Mall, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW Basel
2019: Kaspar Ludwig, Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst FHNW Basel
2018: Gina Proenza, École cantonale d'art de Lausanne
2017: Andriu Deplazes, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2016: STELLA; Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2015: Dijan Kahrimanovic, F+F Schule für Kunst und Mediendesign, Zürich
2014: Thomas Moor, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2013: Michael Meier & Christoph Franz, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2012: Kathrin Affentranger, Hochschule der Künster Bern
2011: Josse Bailly, Haute école d'art et de design Genève
2010: Elisa Larvego, Haute école d'art et de design Genève
2009: Florian Germann, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2008: Nicole Bachmann, Zürcher Hochschule der Künste
2007: Luc Mattenberger, Haute école d'art et de design Genève
2006: Aloïs Godinat, Ecole cantonale d'art de Lausanne
2005: Swann Thommen (collectif-fact), Haute école d'art et de design Genève
2004: Kathrin Stengele, Hochschule der Künste Bern

Logo helvetia Art Prize
Logo helvetia Art Prize