What is ART?

Caroline Schmid-Steiner
June 13, 2019
Sustainability
Art doesn’t just refer to artwork. ART also denotes the world-famous art fair in Basel, ART Basel. To us, art means much more than just pretty pictures and extravagant artists.

Art, culture, society

To us, art means culture. Art and culture make life more interesting and form an important part of society, which we support. As part of the Baloise Group’s sustainability strategy, art is given great importance when it comes to providing additional benefits to society.

Art is the best way to understand the world’s culture.

Pablo Picasso

Baloise’s art collection

Baloise has been collecting art for many years. However, these works of art are not simply collected and then left to gather dust behind closed doors. The collected art is made available to employees at the Group headquarters in foyers, offices and meeting rooms. The general public also has opportunities to marvel at Baloise’s art collection in reception rooms and exhibitions at the Group headquarters in Basel.

Art for all

Instead of just hanging the art next to desks to keep wondering “What was the artist thinking when they made this?”, Baloise offers art tours for its employees where they can have a say regarding about which controversial or popular works they would like to find out more. These tours are guided by art experts throughout the buildings of the Group headquarters that feature art.

Thematic exhibitions from the Baloise collection are opened up to the public twice a year at the Baloise Art Forum located at the Group headquarters in Basel. Employees as well as external interested groups can learn more about art and artists here.

Anything but random

Baloise doesn’t simply collect everything. We have a clear collection concept, which focuses on contemporary art. We primarily collect work on paper including drawings, gouaches, watercolours, oil on paper, collages and photographic works by contemporary artists. The main criterion for the inclusion of an artist is the persuasiveness of their work, which has a close emotional and spiritual connection to the issues and hopes of our time.

Helping artists along

We have been awarding the Baloise Art Prize to two young artists every year since 1999. This is not just a way to honour their work, but also to support their continuous artistic careers. Talent promotion, if you will. The awards include prize money of CHF 30,000 and are awarded by an international jury of experts at the ART Basel in the Statements division. But this is just part of the promotion. Baloise also purchases groups of works from the award recipients and donates these works of art to two significant European museums. Museum exhibitions for the prize recipients supported by us top off the promotion as this benefits their art and provides exposure. This combination of prize money, acquisition, donation and exhibition as an art award is unique, making it a coveted and prestigious prize.

Baloise and art in Basel

Baloise will once again be represented at the ART Basel this year. It will be open to the general public for the first time in 2019. This is the perfect opportunity to introduce you to our art award and the 39 artists (41 including this year) who have won it.

This year, there will be another art event in Basel and the surrounding region. The event Ziel Zukunft Biennale combines art and sustainability to shape the world of tomorrow together. We support this biennial and offer a tour of our art forum, which features pieces by Carsten Födinger. In order to keep the future in mind, we offer tours through a mini smart home in the tiny house at the front yard of the Group headquarters in Basel.

Why are we doing this?

Art enriches our lives and is part of our culture. Both of these aspects are vital to society and should thus be available to all members of society. Interaction when reflecting on works of art is part of our corporate culture: Contemporary art often explores highly relevant societal topics and acts as a mirror for society. We collect works of art and wish to create a positive, inspiring atmosphere. We exhibit them and provide information in order to encourage discussions and facilitate the reflection process. Artists reflect their own personalities and environments in their art. 

An office in which one enjoys spending time is one of the most important criteria being particularly emphasised by employees today, in the age of Work 4.0. With this art, we provide added value within the company, which employees appreciate both consciously and subconsciously. After all, interaction with the art within the company doesn’t necessarily happen “on its own”. By introducing people to our collected works of art, we want to move viewers to reflect on their own character and personal environment. The creative stimulus benefits the employees and the company.

By supporting young artists, we want to actively aid young, talented and motivated artists in their development, which ultimately also aids our creative stimulus.