The artist Sandra Mujinga, who lives in Berlin and Oslo, has been awarded the National Gallery Prize. The jury opted for Mujinga, who was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, “after intensive discussions”, it was said on Thursday evening for the award at Hamburger Bahnhof, the museum for contemporary art in Berlin. At the eleventh award, Mujinga prevailed against the artist and music producer Lamin Fofana, Calla Henkel and Max Pitegoff, who work with photography and videos, and against the Vietnamese-born concept artist and sculptor Sung Tieu. All live in Berlin. The nominees’ works are exhibited until February 27th.
For the presentation in the Hamburger Bahnhof, Mujinga designed ghostly-looking figures made of interwoven strips of fabric that seem to float through the exhibition rooms. The jury stated that she was “very sensitive to the materials used”. Mujinga succeeds in uniting contradicting experiences in her characters. “This creates an openness that creates space for your own imagination.” The sculptures gave the impression that they came from a bygone future. “They remind us that we have to be considerate of other living beings in order to survive and that we can learn strategies from them to adapt to a constantly changing environment,” wrote the jury.
The prize has been awarded since 2000 for young positions in contemporary art that reflect the internationality of the art scene in Germany and have already gained importance through new artistic approaches. Since 2013, the award for artists under 40 has been linked to a solo exhibition in the Hamburger Bahnhof in the following year. Previous winners of the award include Anne Imhof and Monica Bonvicini. It is also interesting to take a look at the nominees who could not prevail. Since the first award, these include internationally celebrated names such as Olafur Eliasson, Katharina Grosse, Tino Sehgal, Maria Eichhorn and Daniel Richter.
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