The Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art: Four candidates, four works of art. The cutting edge of art in 2005 was showcased this autumn at Berlin‘s Hamburger Bahnhof, one of the world's finest contemporary art museums.
The Italian artist Monica Bonvicini (40) was this year’s winner of the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art 2005, which is worth 50.000 Euro and is as prestigious as London’s Turner. She was a clear favourite with the international jury that had to chose from a short list that included John Bock, Angela Bulloch and Anri Sala. Bonvicini‘s award-winning work entitled "Never Again" was on show at an exhibition in the Hamburger Bahnhof alongside the works of the other three shortlisted artists. It’s an installation with metal frames, leather hammocks and chains.
The members of the final jury, Dan Cameron (New Museum of Modern Art, New York), Erika Hoffmann-Koenige (Hoffmann Collection, Berlin) and Dr. Angela Schneider (Nationalgalerie, Berlin), praised Bonvicini’s work because it is grounded in the socio-political fundamentals of society. They were won over by the way Bonvicini exposes the actions and vulnerability of our physical being in her sculptures and installations. The audience prize went to the Canadian artist Angela Bulloch for her haunting installation "The Disenchanted Forest". Like all the other shortlisted artists she lives and works in Berlin.
Established in 2000 by the Friends of the Nationalgalerie,
the association that organised the hugely successful art events "MoMA in Berlin" in 2004 and the Goya exhibition in 2005, the Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art was awarded for the third time. As media partner DW-TV produced short video profiles of all four artists, which were on show exclusively at the Hamburger Bahnhof exhibition.
You can find these portraits below as Video-on-Demand!
Monica Bonvicini was born in Venice, Italy in 1965. Since the mid 1980s she’s been living and working in Berlin and challenging the art world from this base.
In her radical work she uses materials such as metal frames, leather mats, chains, studs and rivets – an intimidating collection of instruments for... what exactly? Builders use such things; some people reputedly also use such equipment for erotic games. Bonvicini calls it a playground for adults with 12 love swings hanging in it, which she hopes people will use. As always, provoking a reaction from her audience is an integral part of her work. She also likes playing with our fears. Her see-through toilet cabin at the Art Basel in 2004 was a typical Bonvicini puzzle: reflecting glass walls ensured that the outside world could be seen from the inside, but no-one on the outside was able to look in. Playful, provocative and perplexing Bonvicini‘s biting irony is sure to you stop in your tracks.
Angela Bulloch was born in 1966 in Fort Frances, Canada. She often works with large-scale light and sound installations. In some of these, stacked illuminated boxes show only a single pixel of an image that has been enlarged beyond recognition. Bulloch unsettles us with her abstract codes and ciphers with which she explores the rules and norms of our societies and investigates our patterns of behaviour. Her trademark clear forms and cool aesthetics keep the viewer at a distance, but at the same time the viewers are often part of Bullock’s installations – as their every move triggers a reaction in her interactive works. Bullock creates what she calls a kind of "hermit art work" in which the experience of art is very physical. Challenging us to confront the boundaries of our perception Bullock investigates how far electronic media has changed the way we see and how we look on the world.
Anri Sala was born 1974 in Tirana, Albania. This video artist has always been a restless traveller in the world. He’s always on the lookout for those seemingly unsignificant details of everyday life that he transforms into expressive "tableaux vivants": a horse in darkness, fireworks, the colourful facades of Tirana. Moments full of poetry, captured by Sala and enhanced with light or shadow, sound or absolute silence. In his hands moments that otherwise have passed unnoticed are turned into precious jewels. Anri Sala is a melancholic poet – always searching for the spectacular in the unspectacular and not afraid of touching our emotions.
John Bock was born in 1965 on the Northern German Coast. His distinguishing feature: wild hair on top of his head and wild ideas inside.
Take the outlandish costumes he designs for his performances: enormous heads stuffed with cotton wool. On one the eyelids have flaps with zippers, and out of them spill knitted arms that reach out endlessly. Using simple techniques such as sewing, carpentry and modelling John Bock creates the strange trashy worlds for his comically absurd and enigmatic performances and installations. His weird and wonderful work is in great demand and can be admired in major museums. John Bock has been invited to all the international Biennials from Sao Paulo to Venice, and even to the Triennial in Yokohama.
Theatre of the absurd verging on Dada, performed in a naively serious manner is a trademark of John Bock, who happens to be a trained economist. In John Bock’s performances nightmare visions are turned into a light-hearted travesty.