Albainian/French artist Anri Sala has been revealed as the winner of the 2014 Vincent Award by the Gemeentemuseum, at a ceremony in The Hague. The artist accepted his award via video feed in front of a live audience.
Sala lives and works in Berlin. He studied art at the national art academy in Tirana and film at Le Fresnoy – Studio National des Arts Contemporains, Tourcoing. In 2001 he won the Young Artist Prize at the Venice Biennale and in 2011 the Absolut Art Award.
The artist won the prize with an installation in which the viewer is constantly challenged by image, sound and movement. “It is a poetic and at the same time conceptual work. He presents the idea of gone ideologies and the possibilities this creates for the future on an individual level.”
According to Benno Tempel, chairman of the international jury, Anri Sala succeeded in having the viewer realise that with good video art ‘the viewer is not giving their time in the act of viewing the work; but in fact receiving time from the work, as an act of space, and reflection’.
The artist’s films that run literally back to back are, ‘Le Clash’ and ‘Tlatelolco Clash’ transport the viewer to a derelict Modernist arts venue and to spots in the vicinity of the Plaza of Three Cultures in Tlatelolco (Mexico City) – places he sees as symbolising the failure of a ‘Great Ideology’.
These images are accompanied by various renditions of punk band The Clash’s renowned ‘Should I stay or should I go?’ track; with the song becomes a flowing melody played alternately on a barrel organ and a music box.
In fact; during a particularly long pause in the awarding of the prize the artist asked via his video feed: “Should I stay or should I go?” – much to the amusement of the audience.
Sala will receive €50,000 in prize money, to be used for the betterment of his artistic practice.
The purpose of the award is ‘to spur on a mid-career artist whose work is appreciably influencing the development of contemporary art in Europe’. A jury for the award had short-listed four other artists for the prize; these were: Pierre Huyghe, Manfred Pernice, Willem de Rooij, and Gillian Wearing. Work by these artists is seldom seen in the Netherlands, but is currently on show at the GEM, Museum of Contemporary Art.
The Vincent Award was founded in 2000 by the Broere Foundation in memory of Monique Zajfen. It was her commitment to and passion for contemporary art that inspired the award as a spur to European artists of great talent. The Vincent Award is intended both to encourage European talent and to promote communication in a free, united and peaceful Europe.
Words: Paul Black © Artlyst 2014 photo courtesy of Gemeentemuseum all rights reserved