An Award Winning Clash

Gemeente Museum’s Benno Tempel on the Vincent Award Ceremony and 2014 Prize Winner Anri Sala

Vincent Award 2014, GEM Museum for Contemporary Art, Den Haag/ A
‘It is very exciting the way he mixes history with life today,’ chairman of the international jury award, Benno Tempel told The Plus about this year’s Vincent Award winner Anri Sala. ‘He’s very much interested in moments of change. His art is very conceptual, and at the same time very poetic, and that was something the Jury really liked.’

As one of the five finalists up for the € 50,000 prize money at the award held in Gemeente Museum in The Hague, Netherlands, Anri stole the show with his installation Le Clash and Tlatelolco Clash. It combined three of his previous works: films ‘Le Clash’ and ‘Tlatelolco Clash’, which played on either side of a stand alone wall, and a self-strumming Drum. The pieces merged seamlessly into one symphonic rendition of The Clash’s ‘Should I Stay or Should I go?

(An excerpt from Anri’s Tlatelolco Clash)

‘It became one ensemble, it plays together with different things that are all an important part of the experience,’ Benno, who is also the director of Gemeente Museum, told us about the piece. ‘One movie played the song, whilst the other movie played the song on a different instrument, and if you walk through the room, at some point you start to notice its like an orchestra or a musical composition.’

Anri Sala - Winner of Vincent Award 2014
The shortlist for the Vincent Award 2014 comprised of artists Pierre Huyghe (France), Manfred Pernice (Germany), Willem de Rooij (Netherlands), Anri Sala (Albania/France) and Gillian Wearing (United Kingdom).

This was the first time that the Vincent Award was hosted at GEM, the Museum for Contemporary Art. The prize is designed to spur on a mid-career artist whose work is having a major influence on the development of contemporary art. We found out more from Benno about the the award, the prize winner, and the judging process:

The Plus: What is the impact of The Vincent Award on the art world?
Benno Tempel:
Given the opportunity to organise such an award, which is challenging but at the same time very important because of the wide variety of international artists, coming together in one exhibition is on many levels important. It’s important for the Netherlands, for European art, and for young artists and art students, and the general public. That makes it a very prestigious award.

TP: What was the Jury looking for in a winner?
There are so many possibilities. We are looking for something that inspires or gives you an experience. We were very happy with the high quality of professionalism of all the artists. All of them took time to see the space, to work together with our team and organise it.

TP: What made Anri’s work stand out in particular?
Anri’s way is very conceptual, and at the same time very poetic. Although all the artists had really high quality work, the moment you entered the room where Anri’s installation was, something happened. You have to walk around one screen to the other, listening to when the drum starts to play. All your senses have to be open to it.

TP: The award is biannual, so what is happening throughout the year in the judging process and preparation?
In the winter of last year, we came together as a jury. From September last year, we made contact with nine correspondents all over Europe, and asked them to send a list of artists who deserve the prize. The correspondents are curators of art exhibitions, artists, critics, collectors of the contemporary art world. That was presented to an international jury in November last year.

TP: That means you have to start the process for the next award in a couple of months?
Yes, we will need to get working on it quite soon already. And at least 55% of the correspondents and jury members will change every edition. That makes it completely different from any other award in the world.

Portrait of Anri Sala: Marc Domage
Anri Sala’s installation: Daniel Nicolas