Over the last decade, Swiss entrepreneur Pierre Sigg has focused on contemporary art—collecting it, sharing it, and supporting its creation. A tech magnate with prodigious holdings of video and digital art, he has hosted two artist residencies at his family home in Le Castellet, in the south of France. After their success, he started to dream bigger.
“I had all this space in a wonderful landscape and thought I could make better use of it, whilst playing a more active role in the art world, providing a place for artists to evolve their thinking, rather than simply supporting them through collecting,” Sigg said in a statement.
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On Tuesday, he announced the Sigg Art Foundation, a new nonprofit aimed at supporting artists working between traditional mediums and new technologies. It will focus on funding residency opportunities, beginning this month with a program in Al-Ula, Saudi Arabia. Independent curator Sacha Guedj-Cohen has been tapped as director of the new foundation and will oversee the global programming.
Among the 2022 residents are French artist Kevin Bray, whose work spans video, graphic design, and sound design; Petra Cortright, an American digital media and performance artist; Swiss artist Louisa Gagliardi, who draws from painting, design, and advertising in her practice; Ittah Yoda, a collective formed by Kai Yoda and Virgile Ittah, and based between Berlin, Paris, Provence, and Tokyo; Nicolás Lamas, a Peruvian sculptor and installation artist who explores the tensions between body, matter, and digital spheres; and Saudi photographer, filmmaker and performer Ahmed Mater. The residency will start on January 15 and run through March 31.
“In the course of my ongoing research into video and digital art over the last ten years, I have met and worked with a few artists in this growing field,” Sacha Guedj-Cohen said in a statement. “Pierre’s particular interest is in a new generation of artists who work at the interface of emergent and traditional media. This determined both our focus for the Foundation and the selection of territories—physical and conceptual—for our residencies.”
Al-Ula, an ancient city nestled in the northwest desert, is a key cultural site in Saudi Arabia. It is home to the country’s first World UNESCO Heritage property and inaugural residency program, which opened in November and concludes this month. The Sigg Foundation residency in Al-Ula will be followed by spring and summer residencies in Le Castellet, an estate scattered with olive groves and vineyards.
“The first residency was so inspirational that I started thinking bigger, wanting to continue to find ways to open up a dialogue between artists working in connected fields around the world,” Sigg added. “Hence the concept for the Foundation was born: a way of linking the residencies and collection that could keep growing, organically.”