The jury of the 57th Venice Art Biennale announced that Anne Imhof of the pavilion of Germany has won the Golden Lion for best national participation! The performative exhibition titled Faust was one of the most talked about since the opening of the world’s most important art event, and it has been described as “a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time” by the president of the jury, Manuel Borja-Villel. The organizers also announced that the Golden Lion for the best artist in the central show, Viva Arte Viva curated my Christine Macel, has been given to Franz Erhard Walther, the veteran German artist known for wearable fabric sculptures.
Frankfurt-based artist Anne Imhof has been dubbed as the new exciting rising star of the international contemporary art scene for a while now. At home in Germany, she was awarded the prestigious Nationalgalerie Prize for Young Art in 2015 and has been praised by the country’s leading art dealers. She was also the star of the 2016 Berlin Art Week and had a successful show during Art Basel in Basel, but the 2017 Venice Biennale might just be the highlight of her artistic career so far. At the German pavilion, curated by Susanne Pfeffer of the Fridericianum Museum in Kassel, Anne Imhof staged a five-hour performance, featuring dancers who engage the viewers in eye contact while dancing, in an eerie environment and accompanied by abrasive noise music. In a statement, the jury of the Art Exhibition stated: ”It pushes the spectator to a state of anxiety. An original response to the architecture of the pavilion, Imhof’s work is also characterized by precise decisions about objects, images, bodies and sounds.”
Another German artist, Franz Erhard Walther, won the Golden Lion for the best artist of the Viva Arte Viva exhibition. His large pieces hold walls in the Arsenale at the Biennale. The Silver Lion for a promising young artist in the group exhibition went to Egyptian artist Hassan Khan, for his Composition for a Public Part, a sound installation which can be heard through multiple speakers in the northern part of Arsenale’s garden. The jury also awarded a special mention for national participation to Cinthia Marcelle of Brazil, while Charles Atlas and Petrit Halilaj received special mentions for their work in Viva Arte Viva. At the ceremony today, a Golden Lion for lifetime achievement was also officially awarded to Carolee Schneemann, who has been announced winner in the run-up to the show. The jury consisted of Manuel J. Borja-Villel, President of the Jury and Director of the Reina Sofia in Madrid; Francesca Alfano Miglietti, a Milan-based curator, Amy Cheng, curator from Taiwan, Ntone Edjabe, journalist from Cameroon and Mark Godfrey, the senior curator of international art at Tate Modern in London.
Featured images: Anne Imhof, Faust, 2017 for the German Pavilion, 57th International Art Exhibition La Biennale di Venezia. Nadine Fraczkowski, Courtesy German Pavilion 2017, the artist.