Pax Art Awards 2020
HEK (House of Electronic Arts), Basel, Switzerland
The jury of the Pax Art Awards honours Monica Studer (1960 in Zurich) and Christoph van den Berg (1962 in Basel) for their broad oeuvre of the last decades, which has always been distinguished by the unique use of digital tools. Using game engines, computer renderings, digital real-time environments, internet-based spaces, interactive installations, VR applications and artificial intelligence, the artists design, create and construct mixed-media setups for digital utopias. These scenarios enable the spectator to enter unusually featured virtual environments, inviting them to find themselves in these hybrid spaces.
Studer / van den Berg explore the digital as a new aesthetic for environmental and spatial delight, using the possibilities of these technologies to explore the limits of the digital experience and how they are conveyed in today’s culture. Their digital canvases are striking for the typified forms of simple or amorphous nature. An undercurrent of artificiality illustrates the fantasies spawned by technical breakthroughs, whose cultural interpretations have yet to be defined. Throughout their career Studer and van den Berg seem to always question the fact that we no longer live in the «real» physical world, and that there is a pervasive sense that the digital has taken over, harnessing the influence of computing and network technologies that have transformed our lives. Furthermore, through their work they enquire as to how far technology can go into the representation of the real, or wether nature can manifest itself through the unreal touch of technology.