Melik Ohanian Awarded 2019 Visarte Prize
By Lauren Long
At a ceremony at Kunsthalle Zürich on September 13, the Swiss art association Visarte presented French-Armenian artist Melik Ohanian with a Visarte Prize, which recognizes outstanding public art. Ohanian received a cash award of CHF 10,000 (USD 10,070) for his installation of nine street lamps, Les Réverbères de la Mémoire (2010–18), erected at Geneva’s Parc Trembley to commemorate the victims of the Armenian Genocide (1915–17).
Ohanian is known for his sculptural, photographic, and video installations exploring the spatial and temporal manifestations of power and oppression. His display of mangled street lamps was a part of the group exhibition that won Armenia the Golden Lion for Best National Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. Ohanian was also awarded the Marcel Duchamp Prize in 2015. Solo exhibitions of his work have been staged internationally, including at Paris’s Centre Pompidou (2016) and Palais de Tokyo (2002); the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art, Salt Lake City (2014); Institut d'art contemporain de Villeurbanne (2006); and the South London Gallery (2006).
Additionally, Zurich- and Berlin-based photographer Ruth Erdt received a Visarte Prize for her series Eine Chronik für Freienwil (2016–18), portraying inhabitants of Freienwil as part of a flood protection project. The 2019 Visarte Historique Prize, dedicated to works created between 1999 and 2009, was awarded to Swedish artist Stefan Banz for his solar-powered sign Alternative (2006–09), installed on the roof of Alternative Bank Switzerland’s building in Olten.
The biennial Visarte Prize was launched in 2015. Previous winners include installation artist Navid Tschopp, painter Vera Marke, and multidisciplinary artist Florian Graf.
Lauren Long is ArtAsiaPacific’s news and web editor.
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