On the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the Helvetia Art Prize (formerly the Nationale Suisse Art Prize), the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen is staging a group exhibition of Swiss artists in which prize winners from previous years play a leading role. Based on this important prize, the exhibition aims to highlight the role of art schools, juries, awards and exhibition venues in the development of a young artist's career. Despite the social acceptance of the choice of profession and, above all, the choice of life for art, this decision always remains a risk, both financially and artistically. Success is not guaranteed and a linear or plannable development is not possible.
The group exhibition is intended to contribute to creating a picture of today's Swiss art scene. Of course, this picture can only be fragmentary. The heterogeneity of the artistic contributions, the networking exhibited and the interweaving between the actors, but also the provenance of the participants, who belong to different scenes in terms of content and geography, should make the complex structure and topography of the Swiss art landscape comprehensible to the public.
Several new productions will be realised for the project, but works from the Helvetia Insurance collection and documentary material will also be shown. Guest contributions broaden the horizon and allow new themes to be introduced. The off-space Sonnenstube in Lugano and the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts were invited for this purpose. The aim is to introduce the role of artist-run spaces as connecting elements between young artists and professional institutions, as well as networking platforms between different parts of the country, but also to involve an art school that – similar to the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen – operates outside Switzerland's major art metropolises.
«Protect me from what I want – 15+1 years Helvetia Art Prize» aims to be a productive platform that both gives artists the opportunity to develop new projects and brings the support system in Switzerland closer to the public. At the same time, the exhibition offers an overview of the young Swiss art production, this exciting biotope that is always in motion.