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The Goslar Kaiserring, one of the most renowned art prizes of the present day, is to be awarded in 2016 to Jimmie Durham. The 75-year-old American artist, poet and activist, who now lives in Berlin, enjoys an international reputation in the contemporary art world. "I am most humbled and pleased by receiving this award. It is a great honour," said Durham. Jimmie Durham will receive the Kaiserring in Goslar on 8 October 2016.
Explaining their decision, the Kaiserring Jury wrote:
Sculptures, installations, paintings, drawings, performances, videos and photographs: Jimmie Durham’s œuvre is many-sided and often results from a process of juxtaposing and contrasting different materials or objets trouvés. Created from natural or synthetic substances, from leftovers or waste, his works function by virtue of unexpected convergences, a transformation of the real being accomplished with ingenuity, far-sightedness and humour. Jimmie Durham’s œuvre cannot be pigeon-holed into any artistic movement. It transcends existing categories or taxonomies and, with its permanent demand for freedom, seeks to escape or slip out of every hierarchical system. It is above all this uniqueness, which on the one hand is based on a great challenge to himself, and on a poetic approach to and contact with the world that allows Jimmie Durham to be added to the continuing list of names of artists to be honoured with the award of the Goslar Kaiserring… The relationship between Jimmie Durham and the world that surrounds him is very personal. In a quite natural fashion he appropriates what seems to us to be ethnically distant, while alienating the familiar: "When I see a piece of wood, or a dog skull, or a plastic bottle I feel a connection. Each has a political and physical history similar to mine."
The artist, poet and activist Jimmie Durham (* 1940 USA, lives in Berlin, Germany) began to work as a sculptor in 1964 and at the same time, in the early 1960s, was politically active in the American civil rights movement, including the rights of Native Americans. In 1973 he completed his art training in Geneva, and returned to the USA. In the 1970s, he was the co-founder and chairperson of the International Indian Treaty Council at the United Nations, where his activity led among other things to the Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In 1987 Durham left the USA, settling first in Mexico and in 1994 in Europe. His artistic and literary work often focuses on the relationship between history and environment, between architecture and monumentality, as well as displaying a critical attitude towards political power relationships and narrations of national identity. Durham laws a visiting professor at Malmö Art Academy and the Università Iuav in Venice.
Durham’s first solo exhibition was held in Austin/Texas in 1965. Since then, his works have been displayed at numerous exhibitions in many countries, most recently, for example at: Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (2014; 2003; 1993); Venice Biennale (2015; 2005; 2003; 2001; 1999); Museo Madre, Naples (2001; 2008); MuHKA – Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp (2012); Swiss Institute, New York (2012); Documenta, Kassel (2012; 1992); 29. São Paulo Biennale (2010); Centre Pompidou, Paris (2010); Kunsthalle Bern (2010); Musée d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (2009); Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2006).
Jimmie Durham in Universes in Universe, a selection:
Venice: Objects, Work and Tourism
6 May - 20 September 2015, Fondazione Querini Stampalia, Carlo Scarpa Area, and interventions in the historical collection. Curator: Chiara Bertola.
A Matter of Life and Death and Singing
24 May - 18 Nov. 2012, Museum of Contemporary Art Antwerp. Curators: Bart De Baere, Anders Kreuger.
dOCUMENTA (13), 2012
9 June - 16 Sept. 2012 in Kassel, Germany. Artistic director: Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev. Photo tour: Works at the Karlsaue park - see also the following pages.
50th Venice Biennial, 2003
15 June - 2 Nov. 2003. The Everyday Altered, Arsenale. Part of the Central International Exhibition. Several objects and installations.
Denkzeichen 4. November 1989
You are here, 2000. Participation in the art project of Pat Binder and Gerhard Haupt on Alexanderplatz / Berlin, in memory of the largest rally of the democratic movement in the GDR.
The Goslar Kaiserring is one of the most internationally renowned prizes for modern art. It has been awarded since 1975. The first prizewinners were Henry Moore, Max Ernst and Alexander Calder. They were followed by pioneers of contemporary art such as Joseph Beuys, Gerhard Richter, Nam June Paik, Christo, Cindy Sherman and Jenny Holzer. Jimmie Durham’s predecessors in recent years include Andreas Gursky, Bridget Riley, David Lynch, Olafur Eliasson, Wiebke Siem and Boris Mikhailov.
Mönchehaus Museum and City of Goslar