Mario Merz Prize

Edition 4

Mario Merz Prize 4th edition


Yto Barrada has been selected as the winner of the Mario Merz Prize fourth edition in the Art category. Füsun Köksal has been selected as the winner of the Mario Merz Prize fourth edition in the Music category.

Yto Barrada was chosen from a shortlist of international contemporary artists including Paolo Cirio, Christina Forrer, Anne Hardy, He Xiangyu, and Koo Jeong A. 

Füsun Köksal was selected from a shortlist of composers including Katherine Balch, William Dougherty, Farzia Fallah and Claudia Jane Scroccaro. 


Yto Barrada was selected via an open public vote, and a jury comprised of Manuel Borja-Villel (Director of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid), Caroline Bourgeois, (Curator Pinault Collection, Paris), Massimiliano Gioni (Artistic Director of the New Museum, New York – Artistic Director of the Fondazione Trussardi, Milan) and Beatrice Merz (President of the Fondazione Merz).

As the winning artist, Barrada will be commissioned to produce a new site-specific solo exhibition at Fondazione Merz, Turin in 2024.

The jury unanimously decided to award Yto Barrada with the following motivation: 

“We expect a profound and resonating project from Yto Barrada, because her immensely poetic works touches contemporary concerns with irreverence, wit and originality, informed by her background in political science and history. Barrada has a sustained commitment to creating platforms of critical thinking and community engagement, focusing her work on found archives and micro-histories. Yto Barrada’s research is complex and articulated. Rethinking notions of authenticity, transmission and landscape, are just some of the significant areas the artist investigates, through installations, to textiles, to films, and book making.”

Füsun Köksal was selected via an open public vote, and a jury composed of  Helena Winckelman (violinist and composer), Diego Chenna (Professor of Chamber Music at Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg), Thomas Demenga (cellist and composer) and Willy Merz (composer and Orchestra Director).

As the winning composer Köksal will be commissioned to write a piece for string orchestra or for solo instrument and string orchestra as well as a soundtrack for a museum space.

Choosing from the excellent and varied proposals heard in the concert of finalists of the fourth Mario Merz Prize, the music jury decided to award Füsun Köksal’s work with the following motivation:

“In Füsun Köksal’s piece one appreciates an intense and effective dramaturgy combined with a diffused lyricism. The alternation of solos and tutti is masterfully conducted, while the score also demonstrates the composer’s excellent knowledge of instrumental techniques, her overview of the various timbres and their use for poetic purposes. The piece, which develops through violent emotional and sonorous shifts, succeeds in finding an accomplished and evident formal arrangement thanks to the interesting development of the dynamics of the instruments.”


Finalists exhibition of Mario Merz Prize fourth edition

curated by the selection jury: Claudia Gioia and Samuel Gross

Fondazione Merz, 9 June – 2 October 2022


Fondazione Merz is pleased to present an exhibition of the six finalists selected for the Art Section of the Mario Merz Prize’s 4th Edition: Yto Barrada (Paris, 1971), Paolo Cirio (Turin, 1979), Christina Forrer (Zurich, 1978), Anne Hardy (UK, 1970), He Xiangyu (China, 1986) and Koo Jeong A (Seoul, 1967).

The artists selected approach the contemporary by not confining themselves to statements of complexity, but by penetrating its meaning with a dissonant approach and visionary ability. Through their individual practices, each with its own linguistic and formal approaches, the artists invite us to experiment without fears of compatibility.

Yto Barrada combines references to artists like Frank Stella with the experience of the artists from the School of Casablanca of the 1960s, in order to assert an autonomous history and identity which go beyond official narratives.
Paolo Cirio symbolically sabotages the mechanisms of identification and social recognition, pointing to the dangers of a system based on authorised control.
Through the ancient art of weaving and fantastical language, Christina Forrer highlights the need to tackle family, social and political conflicts, as well as those between people and the environment, by stopping the erroneous post-historic narrative which follows the end of each conflict.
Anne Hardy creates environments which hover between dream and hallucination, saturating the colours and creating an archaeology of repertoires of the present, as she attempts to glimpse the future in the gaps between the known and the unknown.
Koo Jeong A challenges transience and plays with the luminous energy of the world in order to reinterpret perception, and physical and mental spaces, capable of expressing new relationships between things and between the individual and the collective.
He Xiangyu investigates social and art mechanisms, as well as belonging and consumerist idolatries through irony, while proposing a symbolic revolution which of consumerist references and priorities

The artists were shortlisted by members of the pre-selection judging panel, Claudia Gioia (Independent Curator), Samuel Gross (Special Project Manager Musée d’Art et d’Histoire, Geneve) and Beatrice Merz (President Fondazione Merz).

The public is invited to vote for their favourite artist by logging onto this website to view and judge the artwork online. The public vote will be added to the votes cast by the Jury, whose members are: Manuel Borja-Villel (Director Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid), Massimiliano Gioni (Head Curator New Museum, New York – Art Director Fondazione Trussardi, Milan), Caroline Bourgeois (curator Pinault Collection, Paris), and Beatrice Merz.

The winner will be commissioned to produce a new site-specific solo exhibition at Fondazione Merz.







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

Füsun Köksal | On reminiscence

13 March 2024, 9:00 pm, Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi, Piazza Bodoni, Turin

in collaboration with OFT Turin Philharmonic Orchestra



The fourth edition of the Mario Merz Prize music section comes to a close with a concert which will premiere winner Füsun Köksal’s new composition. The piece will be played by the Turin Philharmonic Orchestra and will be conducted by Giampaolo Pretto during the concert Oriente which will include music by Ildebrando Pizzetti and Zoltán Kodály.

Oriente is the second event of Barca Solare. Ascolti del 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.


Orchestra Filarmonica di Torino

Giampaolo Pretto conductor

Emanuele Arciuli piano


FÜSUN KÖKSAL On Reminiscence

ILDEBRANDO PIZZETTI Canti della stagione alta for piano and orchestra

ZOLTÁN KODÁLY Dances of Galánta for orchestra




For info and tickets please click here


Mario Merz Prize IV Edition| Finalists’ concert

Sunday 16 October 2022 | 7:00 pm

Teatro Massimo, foyer and Sala ONU – Piazza Verdi, Palermo

ensemble WADI, conductor Salvatore Barberi


free admission with reservation:

live streaming on Youtube Fondazione Merz channel



The finalist composers Katherine Balch (USA), William Dougherty (USA), Farzia Fallah (Iran), Füsun Köksal (Turkey), and Claudia Jane Scroccaro (Italy) have been selected by a jury comprising Luisella Molina (Director General of Orchestra Università degli Studi, Milan), Gianluca Cangemi (composer and record producer, Palermo) and Philip Samartzis (sound artist and Professor at the University of Melbourne).

During the concert five new works written specifically for WADI ensemble will be presented. WADI ensemble is a creative incubator founded in 2018 and promoted as well as supported by Fondazione Merz in Palermo, to offer the best Sicilian musical talents contemporary perspectives and sounds.

The public can express their preference on this website from 17 October to 13 Novembre 2022.

A jury composed of Helena Winckelman (violinist and composer), Diego Chenna (Professor of Chamber Music at Hochschule für Musik, Freiburg), Thomas Demenga (cellist and composer) and Willy Merz (composer and Orchestra Director) will cast its votes alongside the public.



Claudia Jane SCROCCARO, Affirming the Consequent

Farzia FALLAH, A Boundless Feast

Füsun KÖKSAL, Quelle’d Over

William DOUGHERTY, Beat(ing)

Katherine BALCH, Drip Music


ensemble WADI

Roberta Casella, harp | Giulia Lo Giudice, percussions | Alessandro Lo Giudice, flute | Emanuele Anzalone, clarinet | Nicola Mogavero, saxophones | Mario Romeo, accordion | Damiano Busardo, classical and electric guitar| Marco Badami, violin | Giuseppe Brunetto, viola | Francesco Biscari, cello | Dario Ammirata, double bass

Salvatore Barberi, conductor