Created in 1966 by Prince Rainier III in honour of His father, who was a great protector of the Arts, the Prince Pierre of Monaco Foundation is today led by Her Royal Highness The Princess of Hanover and keeps supporting literature, music and the arts. First awarded in 1965, the International Contemporary Art Prize (PIAC) rewards a recent work proposed by the Artistic Council, which is chaired by HRH The Princess of Hanover, every three years. The winner of this prize is awarded the sum of €75,000.
For its 48th edition, each member of the Artistic Council proposed “Patrons” who were consulted to select the work that they felt was most accomplished and representative of the two years preceding the Prize. Twenty- seven works submitted and from those, two were shortlisted: The Star-Spangled Banner (2020) by Christine Sun Kim, nominated by David Horvitz; and How to Improve the World (2020), by Nguyen Trinh Thi, nominated by Zoe Butt. Both focus on sound and the act of listening and interpretation.
“Kim’s work offers a bridge between the world of the hearing and the world of the Deaf…”
– Christiano Raimondi
Christine Sun Kim is a is an American sound artist based in Berlin. She works predominantly in drawing, performance, and video, and considers how sound operates in society. Musical notation, written language, American Sign Language (ASL), and the use of the body are all recurring elements in her work. The Star-Spangled Banner began with Christine’s interpretation of the US national anthem in American Sign Language (ASL) at the Super Bowl in February 2020 in front of millions of viewers. Accepting the invitation to perform was not an easy decision for the artist, as American football embodies values that are not her own. However, it was vital for her to maintain visibility for the Deaf community in America. Unfortunately, Christine Sun Kim’s performance only got a few seconds of airtime, a clear sign of the work that still needs to be done to achieve more equitable visibility in the media. The next day, she published an article in the New York Times reflecting on her experience at the Super Bowl of the systemic racism that she believes pervades American culture and which has become a norm that often goes unnoticed.
Nguyen Trinh Thi is a Hanoi-based independent filmmaker, documentarian, and video artist and regarded as one of the pioneers of her home country Vietnam’s independent cinema. She is known for her layered, personal, and poetic approach to contentious histories and current events through experiments with the moving image. Set in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, home to a large concentration of Indigenous groups, How to Improve the World is a film about listening. The film reflects on the differences in how memory is processed between visual and aural cultures, while observing the loss of land, forests and way of life of the Indigenous people in this part of the world. On the subject of the cultural dominance of images at the expense of other sensory modes, Nguyen Trinh Thi states: “As our globalized and westernized cultures have come to be dominated by visual media, I feel the need and responsibility as a filmmaker to resist this narrative power of visual imagery, and to seek out a more balanced and sensitive approach to perceiving the world by paying more attention to soundscapes, in line with my interests in the unknown, the invisible, the inaccessible and potentialities.”
Christine Sun Kim receiving this year’s International Contemporary Art Prize.
The winner was Christine Sun Kim, who received 75,000€, which includes funding to produce a new work. The winning work will be exhibited as a part of a larger exhibition at Casa Encendida in Madrid from 10th November 2022 until 26th February 2023, the last public day of the ARCOmadrid International Contemporary Art Fair.
For Cristiano Raimondi, the artistic director of the PIAC, “Kim develops a work in which signs, gestures and their signifiers are constantly being enriched, offering a bridge between the world of the hearing and the world of the Deaf through the construction of an artistic language that goes from a sign to an image and from an image to a representation of music.”
This year, a Research Grant will be awarded for the first time. Its aim is to support an artist, an institution, a collective, or an art historian in their current or future research work related to the Mediterranean region. Proposed by the Artistic Council, this triennial prize is not open to applications and is endowed with a prize of €10,000. From the three nominated artists: DAAR (Sandi HILAL and Alessandro PETTI), Dominique KOCH and Pierre LEGUILLON, it was DAAAR (Decolonizing Architecture Art Research) and its founders, Sandi Hilal and Alessandro Petti, who were awarded the grant. DAAR combines architecture, art, pedagogy and politics. Over the past two decades they have developed a series of research projects that are both theoretically ambitious and practically engaged in the struggle for justice and equality.
The Principality’s Prize was presented to French anthropologist Philippe Descola for the entirety of his oeuvre.
Other awards announced that evening included the winner of the Literary Prize, Vénus Khoury-Ghata; the Discovery Grant was given to Thomas Louis for his début novel Les Chiens de faïence, published by Éditions de La Martinière; the High School Students’ Favourite Choice Prize was presented to Marie Vingtras for her début novel Blizzard, published by Éditions de l’Olivier; the Young Musicians’ Favourite Choice Prize was awarded to York Höller for his work Viola Concerto (2016–2017), while the winner of the Musical Contest was the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra.
The Principality’s Prize, awarded jointly by the Rencontres Philosophiques and the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco, was presented to Philippe Descola for the entirety of his oeuvre. Descola is an internationally renowned anthropologiest noted for studies of the Achuar, one of several Jivaroan peoples, and for his contributions to anthropological theory.
Opening image by Philippe Fitte
Foundation Prince Pierre
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Words: Julia Pasarón