Basel, The Baloise Art Prize has been awarded to John Skoog from Sweden. The prize of CHF 30,000.- will be presented at the Statements sector of Art Basel by a jury of international experts. The prize includes the acquisition by Baloise of a group of works by the award winner, which is donated to two important museums in Europe: the MMK, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M. and the mumok, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna.
This year’s jury includes: Susanne Gaensheimer, Director MMK Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt a.M.; Karola Kraus, Director Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Wien; Dirk Snauwaert, Artistic Director, WIELS, Contemporary Art Centre, Brussels and Martin Schwander, Fine Art Advisor of Baloise, Chairman of the jury.
John Skoog devotes himself to the medium of film. He produces powerful studies of people and emotions in the tradition of such Scandinavian filmmakers as Victor Sjostrom and Mauritz Stiller. In slow-paced, cinematic sequences, Skoog probes everyday places in search of the traces left behind by people and memory. In so doing, he blurs the distinction between documentary and feature film. His recent video "Reduit (Redoubt)" shows great formal subtlety as the camera circles around an old farmhouse in a barren wintry landscape in Sweden. The farmhouse belonged to a solitary farmer. Driven by the paranoiac effort to protect himself from an imagined Soviet invasion, he had spent years transforming it into a private bunker. Skoog’s film bears witness to the Cold War on the borderline between personal and collective history. A collage of voices and sounds reinforces the atmospheric impact of his imagery while the autobiographical elements of the film are embedded in a larger whole through art historical references to Kurt Schwitters‘ "Merzbau" and Facteur Cheval‘s "Palais Idéal".
John Skoog, *1985 in Kvidinge, lives in Frankfurt a.M., Germany