The winners of the 2015 Golden and Silver Lion awards at the 2015 Venice Biennale have been announced.
American conceptual artist Adrian Piper has been awarded the Golden Lion for best artist in the International Art Exhibition, All The World’s Futures. Her work was described by the jury as inviting the viewer ‘to engage in a life-long performance of personal responsibility’, bringing attention to the ‘ephemeral and transitional character of value systems’.
The Silver Lion for a promising young artist in the exhibition has gone to South Korean artist Im Heung-Soon. His prize is for the documentary video, Factory Complex, which looks at labour conditions for women across Asia.
There were also special mentions for three artists who are part of the All The World’s Futures exhibition: the Abounaddara collective from Syria; the German filmmaker Harun Farocki, who died last year; and Algeria-born, France-based artist Massinissa Selmani.
The Golden Lion for the national pavilion was awarded to Republic of Armenia for ‘forming a pavilion based on a people in diaspora, each artist engaging their specific locality as well as their heritage’.
The veteran American artist Joan Jonas also received a special mention for her video and sound installation for the United States pavilion.
The Ghanian artist El Anatsui, who works with wood, clay, metal, and most recently the discarded metal caps of liquor bottles, received the Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement accolade on the recommendation of the curator of this year’s exhibition, Okwui Enwezor.
Enwezor commented: “The Golden Lion Award acknowledges not just his recent successes internationally, but also his artistic influence amongst two generations of artists working in West Africa. It is also an acknowledgment of the sustained, crucial work he has done as an artist, mentor and teacher for the past 45 years.
A Special Golden Lion Award for Services to the Arts was awarded to Susanne Ghez. She served as executive director and chief curator of the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago for 40 years. Ghez is currently adjunct curator at the Art Institute of Chicago.
The 56th Venice Biennale, 9 May – 22 November 2015; previews 6-8 May. www.labiennale.org
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