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Top prizes for Germany in Venice

Timothy Jones dpa
May 13, 2017

The two most important prizes at this year's Venice Biennale have gone to Germany for best exhibition pavilion and artist. The exhibition prize is considered one of the world's most prestigious contempory art events.

Italien Venedig Biennale Deutscher Pavillon
Image: picture-alliance/NurPhoto/G. Cosua

Germany took both of the top prizes at the Venice Biennale on Saturday, with Golden Lions going to Franz Erhard Walther as best artist and to the German Pavilion designed by Frankfurt artist Anne Imhof as the best National Participation.

Franz Erhard Walther
Walther has a high international reputationImage: picture-alliance/dpa/A. Reuther

Walther, 77, a concept artist from the central German city of Fulda,  is showing a large-scale textile work at the show, which opened on Saturday. He is known for art works that allow viewer participation.

The German Pavilion, which features a some five-hour-long performance of Imhof's piece "Faust," has already proved to be a favorite during VIP previews at the Biennale. The pavilion is curated by Susanne Pfeffer from the Fridericianum museum in Kassel.

Italien Venedig Biennale Deutscher Pavillon
Imhof's "Faust" lasts some five hoursImage: Imago/A. Merola

Major art show

The last time the German Pavilion won a Golden Lion was in 2011, when Christoph Schlingensief's version was honored posthumously after the artist died the year before.

The German-British artist Tino Sehgal received the award as best artist in 2013.

Italien Venedig Biennale 2017 Anne Imhof
Imhof's work covers several genresImage: Imago/I. Kjer

The 57th Venice Biennale, which this year is entitled "Viva Arte Via," will run until November 26 and is expected to attract half a million visitors. Its curator is Christine Macel of France, who has held the same position at the famous Centre Pompidou in Paris since 2000. Macel has in the past displayed a predilection for time-based art, which she tends to favor over painting or installations.

Some 120 artists from 51 countries are exhibiting their works, including three more German artists besides Walther. The show also features more than 80 national pavilions.

A highlight at the Venice Biennale

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