Pia Fries is a painter who approaches her work with care and conviction in a decidedly classical sense. She conceives her pieces with structure, seriousness, and finesse, while also demonstrating a keen sense of colors and shapes, along with a well-balanced blend of controlled purism and ecstatic energy. Pia Fries places great emphasis on proportion and rhythm, seeking harmony and simultaneous disharmony in her compositions. Her paintings are conceptual but not “conceptual art,” and they are abstract but not “abstract art” in the traditional sense, as she develops her subjects revolving around themes of color, composition, and expressiveness from representational contexts.

Her artworks possess multiple layers of meaning, revealing intricate references within their content. Pia Fries harbors a passion for metamorphosis, finding pleasure in disassembling and reassembling highly complex visual elements.

Text: Valentina Vlasic, Kuratorin, Museum Kurhaus Kleve

1955 Born in Beromünster, Switzerland, lives and works in Düsseldorf, Germany
1977 – 1980 Academy of Art and Design, Lucerne, sculpture class with Anton Egloff
1980 – 1986 Düsseldorf Academy of Art, painting with Gerhard Richter, master student
1984 – 1998 Lecturer for painting at the Lucerne School of Art and Design
1998 – 2000 Lectureship for painting at the Düsseldorf Academy of Art
2000 – 2001 Visiting professor at the State Academy of Arts Karlsruhe / Freiburg i. Br.
2007 – 2009 Visiting professor at the University of the Arts, Berlin
2009 – 2014 Professorship at the University of the Arts, Berlin
2014 – 2023 Professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich

Scholarships and awards
1985 Prize of the Jury of the Six Cantons of Central Switzerland
1986 Graduate scholarship of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia
1989 Work contribution of the canton and city of Lucerne, visual arts
Federal art scholarship
1991 Federal art scholarship
1992 Nordmann Prize Canton Lucerne

Swiss art scholarship
1994 Bonn Art Fund
1996 Münsterland Art Prize
2000 Studio of the Zug Cultural Foundation Landis & Gyr in London
2009 Fred-Thieler-Prize, Berlinische Galerie, Berlin
2011 Iserlohn Art Prize, Villa Wessel Iserlohn
2014 Art and Culture Prize of the City of Lucerne, Lucerne
2017 Gerhard Altenbourg Prize, Lindenau Museum Altenburg, Germany

Works in public collections
Aarau, Aargauer Kunsthaus Aarau
Altenburg, Lindenau Museum
Bern, Art Museum Bern, Foundation Art Today
Bonn, Bonn Art Museum
Bottrop, Josef Albers Museum Quadrat
Buffalo, New York, Albright-Knox Art Gallery
Clermont-Ferrand, FRAC Auvergne
Detroit, Detroit Institute of Art
Düsseldorf, Palace of Art
Essen, Museum Folkwang
Hanover, Lower Saxony Savings Bank Foundation Collection
Kleve, Museum Kurhaus Kleve
Leverkusen, Museum Morsbroich
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Museum of Art
Lucerne, Museum of Art Lucerne
Nuremberg, Neues Museum – State Museum of Art and Design in Nuremberg
Otterndorf, Studio A
Paris, Musée dArt moderne de la Ville de Paris
San Diego, MCASD Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego
St. Gallen, Museum of Art St. Gallen
Stuttgart, State Gallery Stuttgart
Winterthur, Winterthur Art Museum
Zurich, Kunsthaus Zurich
Zurich, University Hospital

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