Jan 04 2018


by Julee WJ Chung

NEVIN ALADAĞ is the winner of the 2018 Ernst Rietschel Art Prize for Sculpture. Photo by Trevor Good. Courtesy the artist and Wentrup Gallery, Berlin.

Berlin-based, multidisciplinary artist Nevin Aladağ has been announced the winner of the 2018 Ernst Rietschel Art Prize for Sculpture, jointly awarded by the Antonius Youth and Culture Promotion Association and Ernst Rietschel Kulturring. She will receive a cash prize of EUR 15,000 (USD 18,000) and will mount an exhibition of her works at the Albertinum in Dresden in March.

Aladağ was born in 1972 in Van, Turkey, to a family of Kurdish and Turkish origins and moved to Stuttgart as a child. Her works, spanning installations to videos and performances, often incorporate sound, music and dance, and are ambitious visual presentations that touch upon ideas of social displacement and vulnerability, as well as issues of migration, economic power, cultural heritage and identity. Her sculpture Beeline (Istanbul) (2014), for example, comprises 10 spools of shipping rope totaling 698 meters, alluding to the width of the Bosphorus strait at its narrowest point—and thereby the distance between the Asian and European continents—while probing the ways in which cultural and political factors affect our perceptions of space.

Installation view of NEVIN ALADAĞ’s Beeline, 2014, at “Borderline,” Art Space Pythagorion, Samos, 2014. Photo by HG Masters for ArtAsiaPacific

Recently, Aladağ exhibited at Documenta 14 in Kassel and Athens, as well as at the 57th Venice Biennale. Her works are in major public and private collections worldwide, such as at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi’s collection in Sharjah, Vehbi Koç Foundation in Istanbul and the Pinakothek der Moderne in Munich. 

Since 1991, the Ernst Rietschel Art Prize has been awarded to artists who advocate for art that is “tied to the times, the people, the culture, and expression.” The award honors the memory of one of the most notable German sculptors of the 1800s, Ernst Rietschel (1804–1861).

The jury for the prize’s 2018 edition includes writer and critic Kirsty Bell; Matthias Mühling, art historian and director of the Lenbachhaus in Munich; Thomas Thiel, director of the Bielefelder Kunstverein; and Hilke Wagner, director of the Albertinum in Dresden.

Previous winners of the award include German artists Johannes Wald, Axel Anklam, and Emil Cimiotti.

Julee WJ Chung is ArtAsiaPacific’s assistant editor.

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