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  • Sep 05, 2017

Haegue Yang Wins 2018 Wolfgang Hahn Prize

Portrait of HAEGUE YANG. Courtesy the artist.

Seoul-born, Berlin-based artist Haegue Yang has been announced as the winner of the 2018 Wolfgang Hahn Prize by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst (Society for Modern Art) at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. She is the second Asian artist to be bestowed the prize, following Huang Yong Ping in 2016. Since 1994, the award has been presented to individuals whose artistic practice “consistently and substantially continued to develop and is recognized by international experts.” There is a cash prize of EUR 100,000 and a work or series of works by the artist will be acquired by the museum. Yang will also mount an exhibition at Museum Ludwig. A monograph will be published to accompany the presentation.

The artist was born in 1971 in Seoul, and eventually enrolled in the fine arts program at Seoul National University and then at Städelschule in Frankfurt am Main in Central Germany. Primarily a sculptor and installation artist, Yang’s multi-sensory creations often carry overtones of left-wing politics that meet pure abstraction. She participated in the 53rd Venice Biennale in 2009, and had solo presentations at New York’s New Museum in 2010–11, as well as at Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art in Seoul in 2015 and Centre Pompidou, Paris, in 2016, among others.

The Wolfgang Hahn Prize is named after one of the founding members of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst at Museum Ludwig. Hahn worked as head restorer at the Wallraf Richartz Museum and Museum Ludwig, and was an avid art collector who built his collection in the 1950s and ’60s, focusing on the avant-garde by accumulating objects by artists who belonged to the Fluxus and happening movements.

The awarding jury for the prize’s 2018 edition includes Christina Végh, director of the Kestner Gesellschaft in Hanover; Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig; Mayen Beckmann, chairperson of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst; and four other board members of the Society, including Gabriele Bierbaum, Sabine DuMont Schütte, Jörg Engels and Robert Müller-Grünow.

Previous winners of the Wolfgang Hahn Prize include Cindy Sherman, Pipilotti Rist, Mike Kelley and Trisha Donnelly. Yang’s win marks the award's 24th iteration. She will officially receive the prize in a ceremony that will take place in April 2018.

Brady Ng is ArtAsiaPacific’s reviews editor.

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