Sure, The Hugo Boss Prize has nothing on the Grand Rapids Artprize, but despite the lack of hanging shrimp projects and a mere $100,000 award (as opposed to $250,000), we still deem the semi finalists worthy of some mention. Established in 1999 with the Guggenheim, the finalists announced earlier today in Germany, appear after the jump. Notably, almost all of these artists are very politically engaged.
Cao Fei, China Power Station London, Image courtesy of the artist.
* Cao Fei (b. 1978, Guangzhou, China) — video, installation, performance, photography, and online projects.
We like some of Cao Fei’s work, but some of it runs too far on the cheesy end of the Fine Art spectrum for our tastes. This is likely a result of subject matter — Second Life and many video games all seem nerdy in an unhip way now — though we can’t help but think that if the documentary tone were edged up just a little, the work would fair better.
Hans-Peter Feldmann, 100 Jahre (1996-2000), Konrad Fischer Galerie, at Basel Switzerland. Image AFC
* Hans-Peter Feldmann (b. 1941, Dusseldorf, Germany) — sculpture, installation, photography, and artist books.
Feldmann was a favorite of ours in Basel and at the Biennial. Pictured above is a photograph installation showing men and women at each year of their life through to 100. It’s a simple but very effective concept.
Related: Feldmann made our Fall preview list!
Natascha Sadr Haghighian, I Can't Work Like This, nails. Image via: Today and Tomorrow
* Natascha Sadr Haghighian — sculpture, installation, performance, video, photography, sound, and online projects.
Wikipedia quotes the Arsenal to describe this German artist as “primarily concerned with the socio-political implications of constructions of vision from a central perspective and with abstract events within the structure of industrial society, as well as with the strategies and returning circulations which become apparent in them.” We have no idea what this means, but we like the slightly self-deprecating tone of the work.
Roman OndÃ¡k, Poems (1996), Image via: gandy-gallery.com
* Roman OndÃ¡k (b. 1966, Å½ilina, Slovakia) — performance, installation, photography, drawing, and sculpture.
Our favorite OndÃ¡k work we haven’t experienced: Tickets Please (1999—2000), a piece in which he sold tickets to his exhibition at half price, only to demand the balance from visitors once inside. Our least favorite: His letter to the Slovakian minister of culture, simply reading,
Could you support my intention to establish a Virtual Museum of Contemporary Art.
Granted, this letter was written in 2003, but it hasn’t aged well. This falls under the hood of boring institutional critique.
From the series We Decided to Let Them Say “We Are Convinced” Twice, 2002, photographed by Walid Raad, summer of 1982, during the Israeli Army's invasion and the siege of Beirut. © The Atlas Group/ Courtesy Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London. Image via: Open Democracy
* Walid Raad (b. 1967, Chbanieh, Lebanon) — photography, video, mixed media, essays, and lectures.
Raad began lecturing on The Atlas Group around 2000. It’s a great project, but is he working on anything new?
Like the Relentless Fury of the Pounding Waves (still) 1995 / Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul / Image courtesy: Kick the Machine,Thailand
* Apichatpong Weerasethakul (b. 1970, Bangkok, Thailand) — film and installation.
We can not issue opinion on this filmmaker having not seen any of his films in their entirety.
In other prize news, Winners of The Young Masters Art Prize were also announced today. Hector de Gregorio and artist duo Ghost of A Dream reap a combined pot of 4,000 pounds.
Hector de Gregorio, Absinthes (2009)
We’re all about mixing the high arts with naked here.