A new prize, the Edvard Munch Art Award, was for the first time presented last week, on Munch’s birthday, 12 December. The award is funded by Statoil.
Her Majesty The Queen of Norway presented the prize, which was awarded to the French artist Camille Henrot.
The award ceremony took place at the Munch Museum in Oslo, and included musical performances and a showing of Ms Henrot’s video, “Le Songe de Poliphile – The Strife of Love in a Dream”. The jury chair read the statement explaining the award decision, after which Queen Sonja presented the prize itself.
Some critics of the new price claim that the museum has partnered with an unethical partner and that this largely colors the prize.
To the criticism Stein Olav Henriksen, director of the Munch Museum, replies: “To let oneself nominate to Edvard Munch Art Award is voluntary. Artists who do not wish to be considered, are free to abstain. Statoil has no influence over who gets nominated or who receives the award. We recognize the artist’s freedom of expression, and the price will be awarded on the basis of art and cultural/technical judgment”.
Camille Henrot lives and works in New York, and has a long list of projects and exhibitions to her name.
According to the jury, Ms Henrot has proven herself to be an exceptionally talented and original artist. She uses a wide array of mediums, including traditional artistic techniques as well as new technologies. Her artistic practice is particularly meaningful and relevant with regard to the fundamental epistemological questions of our time, where knowledge and information are continuously reproduced and spread via modern technology.
“Camille Henrot is an important voice, and in recent years has demonstrated an impressive capacity to renew herself and pose relevant contemporary questions,” says Director of the Munch Museum, Stein Olav Henrichsen.
The international award was presented for the first time this year. It consists of a cash prize of NOK 500 000 and a solo exhibition of the recipient’s work at the Munch Museum. The award is given to an emerging visual artist under 40 who has demonstrated exceptional talent within the last five years.
The Edvard Munch Art Award is an acknowledgement of Edvard Munch’s historical significance and enduring relevance to contemporary culture. The award is intended to promote the development of outstanding international talents in the field of visual arts.
The Munch Museum is responsible for the award. The international jury consists of five highly acclaimed individuals with profound knowledge of contemporary art. This year’s jury was chaired by the French curator and former museum director, Alfred Pacquement.
The Edvard Munch Art Award, source: The Royal House of Norway /Statoil /Munchmuseet