Mario Merz Prize

Edition 3

Mario Merz Prize 3rd edition

Bertille Bak. Mineur Mineur


a new project by Bertille Bak, winner of the third edition of the Mario Merz Prize

curated by Caroline Bourgeois

21 February – 22 May 2022

The new site-specific project takes its title from the main work, the video installation Mineur Mineur (Minor miner). Bak, grand daughter of Polish miners who worked in the coal mines of northern France since the age of 13, draws on her own personal story to explore the issue of child labour, which deprives some 152 million children worldwide of their childhood, dignity and health.

She now focuses on children who work in mines (minor miners) in five countries: India (coal), Indonesia (tin), Thailand (gold), Bolivia (silver) and Madagascar (sapphires).

The project focuses on these children immersed in the earth’s womb and in the dark. Bertille Bak films them on video, presents their drawings, what remains of their childhood…

Bertille Bak wins the third edition of Mario Merz Prize – Art section

On Thursday 10 October at the Italian Embassy in Madrid, on the occasion of the Mario Merz exhibition El tiempo es mudo at the Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Beatrice Merz announces the winner of the third edition of the Mario Merz Prize Art section.

Bertille Bak, finalist together with artists Mircea Cantor, David Maljković, Maria Papadimitriou, Unknown Friend, was chosen by a jury composed of the public and of Manuel Borja-Villel (director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid), Lawrence Weiner (artist), Massimiliano Gioni (artistic director of the New Museum, New York – artistic director of the Fondazione Trussardi, Milan) and Beatrice Merz.

Finalists exhibition of Mario Merz Prize third edition


curated by Claudia Gioia, Samuel Gross and Beatrice Merz

Fondazione Merz, 3 June – 6 October 2019

Fondazione Merz is pleased to present the exhibition of the 5 finalists selected for the Art Section in this third edition of the Mario Merz Prize: Bertille Bak (France, 1983), Mircea Cantor (Romania, 1977), David Maljković (Croatia, 1973), Maria Papadimitriou (Greece, 1957) e Unknown Friend, duo composed of Stephen G. Rhodes (USA, 1977) and Barry Johnston (USA, 1980).

The finalists present stylistic and formal solutions that differ according to their respective stories and experiences, generational and geographical appurtenance, yet each of them expresses the same questioning vision of the present.

Logos, invention and art converge in a sort of iconisation, a space for creation where the past and the future continue to look at each other without any chronology; a present, therefore, that surprises and worries but above all is evasive.

Thus we observe the potential state, the seminal nature, the codified image, the speaking word to find a grammar of structure capable of founding a new language and vision in which art allows us to glimpse the very possibility of thinking about the present… and in difficult times, times of transition and change, it is imperative that we do this.

The artists were shortlisted by members of the pre-selection judging panel, Claudia Gioia (Indipendent Curator), Samuel Gross (Head Curator, Istituto Svizzero) and Beatrice Merz (President, Fondazione Merz) also curating the exhibition.


Music for a museum by the winner Mario Merz Prize third edition

Jay Schwartz Schwarzstrasse

Sunday 24 March, 6:30 pm, Fondazione Merz




The electroacoustic work Schwarzstrasse by Jay Schwartz will be premiered in the outdoor spaces of the Fondazione Merz, at the end of the Glissandi concert.

The event is part of Barca Solare. Ascolti dal Mediterraneo, the series of musical events presented by the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra in collaboration with Fondazione Merz and supported by Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo. This itinerary is a reflection on listening introduced by some pieces from the twentieth-century repertoire played live by the musicians of the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra, in which the integration of music and auditory enjoyment performed in different spaces creates a fascinating sensory experience.

Martino Maina cello
Johann Sebastian Bach, extracts from Cello Suite n. 6 in D Major BWV 1012
Paul Hindemith, extracts from Sonata per violoncello solo op. 25 n. 3

Niccolò Susanna flute
Claude Debussy Syrinx 
André Jolivet  extracts from Incantations 
Edgard Varèse Density 21.5 

Rossana Bribò percussions
Alexej Gerassimez Asventuras for snare drum solo
Emmanuel Séjourné Attraction for marimba, vibraphone and tape

Admission subject to availability and included in the cost of the current exhibition ticket. For reservation: – T. 011 19719437


Concert with the winner’s piece Mario Merz Prize third edition

Jay Schwartz | Credo, Music for orchestra VII


17 May 2022, 9:00 pm, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Piazza Bodoni, Turin

in collaboration with OFT-Turin Philharmonic Orchestra


The third edition of the Mario Merz Prize music section comes to a close with a concert which will premiere winner Jay Schwartz’s new composition. The piece will be played by the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra and by a group of young musicians, the Rosin Octet (Tilburg, Netherlands), during a concert which will include music by Edvard Grieg and Henri Casadeus.

Credo, Music for Orchestra VII presents the characteristics of Schawrtz’s poetics. It employs aspects of the physics of sound and utilises tonality in the context of the physics of organic harmony, while making use of the overtone spectrum, microtonality, and glissandi in a poetic context with a captivating sensuous drawing power, and an unabashed emotional disposition.

Accompanying Jay Schwartz’s composition, the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra proposes a programme dedicated to the fifth Platonic solid, the dodecahedron, conveying through music the ether, the classical element that this geometric form has been associated with.

JAY SCHWARTZ Credo, Music for orchestra VII

HENRI CASADESUS Concert in C minor for violas and string instruments

EDWARD GRIEG Two melodies op. 53

EDWARD GRIEG Holberg Suite 40


Concertmaster: Sergio Lamberto

Viola Soloist: Lara Albesano




Finalists concert Mario Merz Prize third edition


Biblioteca civica musicale “Andrea Della Corte” Turin, 3 June 2019

The concert, organized by Fondazione Merz in collaboration with Biblioteca civica musicale “Andrea Della Corte”, is held within the setting of the eighteenth-century Villa La Tesoriera and it is conducted by Willy Merz.

Annachiara Gedda, Perspectives III

Mauro Lanza, Tutto ciò che è solido si dissolve nell’aria

Filippo Perocco, Come dura pietra

Robert HP Platz, Wunderblock

Jay Schwartz, Music for Five Stringed Instruments II Ensemble


Musicians: Niccolò Susanna, flute – Gianluca Calonghi, clarinet – Paolo Grappeggia, double bass – Andrea Rebaudengo, piano – Lorenzo Guidolin, percussions

Quartetto Maurice: Georgia Privitera, violin – Laura Bertolino, violin – Francesco Vernero, viola – Aline Privitera, cello

The finalists composers, Annachiara Gedda (Italy 1986), Mauro Lanza (France 1975), Filippo Perocco (Italy 1972), Robert HP Platz (Germany 1958), Jay Schwartz (Germany 1965), were selected by a jury composed of Giampaolo Pretto (flautist and main conductor of the Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino), Stefano Pierini (composer and lecturer at the Centro di Formazione Musicale in Turin) and Philip Samartzis (sound-designer and lecturer at the University of Melbourne).

The public can express its preference listening to the recording of the concert, available in a dedicated space in the Fondazione Merz, and on the Mario Merz Prize website.

The public vote is added to the votes cast by Jury composed of Dieter Ammann (composer), Thomas Demenga (cellist and composer), Alexander Lonquich (pianist) and Willy Merz.