Promoting art and integrating it into our everyday lives is a part of our corporate culture. We collect works of art from the area of contemporary photography, which we display on our premises, and support young artists by helping them realize new projects.
Admittedly, photography accounts for a relatively small proportion of all artwork produced, but is nevertheless a central, pictorial medium of communication around the world, one which opens up rich and exciting works of art. The camera was originally envisioned as a device that would capture and preserve reality for eternity. Photographers quickly began to use the medium as a subjective means of expression, moving away from pure documentation. The liberation of photography from its classical application began in the mid 20th century with its emergent mediatization, which paved the way towards artistic expression. The breakthrough came in the 1980s and 90s, as the acceptance of the medium as a legitimate means of artistic expression increased and free photography began to appear in art museums and was sold on the art market.
Today, artists use techniques from across the near 200-year history of photography, from analog, large-format cameras to smartphones, screenshots, and moving images. Likewise, the newest technological means of visualization from computer sciences and information design, such as virtual reality or computer generated imagery, are also a part of the artistic practice of photography. Through a variety of methods, pictorial worlds are created using various visualization and viewing techniques, in order to obtain new perspectives on the present. Artists take the time to see, to research, to think, and to question. The end result is a visual work, which offers us an attractive invitation: to consider the artist’s perspective, to be amazed, to discover new things, and to see differently.
The new Vontobel Art Collection gathers works from international artists created from the year 2000 onwards. The focus of the content is on the presentation of humanity and our actions in the present: what faces does the contemporary person wear? What does society look like? What conventions are in place for representing people? How has the image of the person changed in the last 20 years? What influence does globalization have on the images of people? And from another perspective: what do these people produce and how? What actions do they take and how do these actions influence our world, our planet? How do new technologies and accomplishments change the visual world retrospectively? With the decisive, but open question: where does humanity end?
“A New Gaze” is a sponsorship award for young contemporary photographers. Vontobel gives out the award every two years, each time enabling an international artist to implement an idea for a project from its conception through to the exhibition and exhibition catalogue.
The award is geared towards young artists at the beginning of their careers. Before each call for submissions, Vontobel selects a continent and a topic. With the help of experts from the local art and photography scene, we invite 50 to 100 nominees to submit an idea for a project. A jury decides on the winning project, which the artist can then realize with the support of the curator team within 18 months. The award comes with a grant of CHF 20,000. In addition to this sum, we finance the production, exhibition, and publication of the work. The project culminates in a publicly accessible exhibition at the Vontobel Headquarters in Zurich.
La collezione d'arte Vontobel è nata negli anni '70 quando il dott. Hans Vontobel (1916-2016), grande appassionato del settore, diede vita alla Commissione artistica. Da allora, questo organismo composto da collaboratori interessati all'arte ha costruito in modo lento ma costante una collezione di opere d'arte svizzere.
Nel 2015, con il nuovo orientamento preso dalla strategia della collezione si è creato il servizio specializzato «Art Vontobel». Sono entrati a farne parte specialisti che hanno costituito una piccola sezione, oggi gestita come parte della responsabilità aziendale. La decisione di rivolgere il nostro impegno alla fotografia contemporanea di artisti nazionali e internazionali ha segnato l'inizio di una nuova era. Il nostro interesse è volto quindi al mezzo fotografico, con un chiaro orientamento contemporaneo e teso al futuro per quanto riguarda sia la collezione che la borsa di studio «A New Gaze», istituita nel 2017 per promuovere la fotografia contemporanea.
Ancora oggi a far parte della Commissione artistica Vontobel sono rappresentanti dell'azienda appassionati d'arte, che sono perciò direttamente coinvolti nei processi decisionali. Lo zurighese Urs Stahel, noto esperto di fotografia, dà la sua impronta alla collezione e ai progetti in veste di curatore. La curatrice responsabile de «Art Vontobel» è Georgina Casparis.
Art Vontobel Team
Curator Art Vontobel
Project Manager Art Vontobel
Advisor to Art Vontobel
Members of the Vontobel Arts Commission
Chairman of the Vontobel Arts Commission
Head of Corporate Responsibility
Head of Vontobel Wealth Management German-Speaking Switzerland
Promoting art has always been a part of our corporate culture. We firmly believe that art and culture are important, even indispensable, agents of a functioning society, which allow the development of experimentation with many practical and theoretical approaches to producing art. We want to support these creative methods of thinking and producing. It is art that affords us a new perspective as observers, that challenges us, or simply delights us. Works of art enrich daily life, enable dialogue decoupled from the day-to-day working routine: a change of perspective. By exhibiting and collecting works of art, we wish to create an inspiring environment with long-lasting value for our employees and our customers.
Are you interested in Vontobel's commitment to the arts? Subscribe to our newsletter, and we will keep you informed about activities in our collection, the Vontobel prize for contemporary photography “A New Gaze”, and upcoming events.