Media City Artists on Hugo Boss Prize Shortlist

18 Aug

While this is not “current news,” it certainly deserves mention and full context here.

The 2008 Hugo Boss Prize trophy (courtesy of Hugo Boss Lifestyle eMag Arts Sponsorship)

The Hugo Boss Prize, sponsored by the German menswear company of the same name, is awarded biannually to “honor innovation in contemporary art,” according to Nancy Spector, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Guggenheim Museum in New York and chair of the prize’s jury committee.

The prize, which awards $100,000 and a solo exhibition at the Guggenheim, has been in existence since 1996 and ranks with the Turner Prize, the Bucksbaum Award, the Preis der Nationalgalerie für Junge Kunst, and the Artes Mundi Prize as one of the most prestigious in the world. Past winners include a veritable who’s-who of movers and shakers in the contemporary art world: Matthew Barney (1996), Douglas Gordon (1998), Marjetica Potrč (2000), Pierre Huyghe (2002), Rirkrit Tiravanija (2004), Tacita Dean (2006), and Emily Jacir (2008).

In October 2009, six artists were nominated to the shortlist for the award:

  1. Cao Fei, Chinese multimedia artist
  2. Hans-Peter Feldmann, German conceptual artist
  3. Roman Ondák, Slovakian performance artist
  4. Walid Raad, Lebanese media artist
  5. Natascha Sadr Haghighian, German video/performance artist
  6. Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Thai filmmaker

Walid Raad

Plates 57 & 58, "Already Been in a Lake of Fire," 2004 (courtesy of The Atlas Group / Sfeir Semler Galerie / Anthony Reynolds Gallery; photo © Walid Raad)

Walid Raad, originally from Chbanieh, Lebanon, now living and working in New York, is a media artist whose practice is focused on themes related to the Lebanese civil wars of the late 20th century.  Operating under the auspices of The Atlas Group, an imaginary non-profit research group based in Beirut and devoted to the documentation of contemporary Lebanese history, Raad has created a body of work drawn from the group’s “archives” that serves as a critique of traditional modes of historical record-keeping while maintaining its subversive artistic imperative.  Throughout his ouevre, Raad continually probes the conventions of documentation and representation through photographic, video, and literary means.  He was honored with the Alpert Award in Visual Arts in 2007.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

Production still from "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives," 2010 (courtesy Kick The Machine Films)

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, born in Bangkok in 1970, lives and works in Chiang Mai, Thailand.  His film projects, which range  from a few minutes to feature-length films, are all set in his native Thailand and produced by Kick the Machine, the independent production company he launched in 1999.  His work often deals with such disparate topics as dreams, sexuality, memory, and Western perceptions of Asia.  All this is underscored by an unsettling nonlinear fluidity of time and space, enhanced by a nontraditional cinematography that often indulges in extended takes and tracking shots.  He is mostly widely recognized as the director of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall Past His Lives (2009), which won him the prestigious Palme d’Or prize at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival.

Three other artists participating in 2010 Media City Seoul have been previously honored by the Hugo Boss Prize: Douglas Gordon won the prize in 1998; Willem de Rooij was nominated to the shortlist in 2004, Tino Seghal in 2006.  The prize will be announced on 4 November, just as Media City Seoul enters its final phase, and you can bet we’ll be keeping our fingers crossed for Messrs. Raad and Weerasethakul.  Stay tuned!

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