Pauline Curnier Jardin Wins Germany’s Most Prestigious Prize for Younger Artists

The French artist impressed a high-powered jury with her "delirious circus" installation in a group show of works by the shortlisted artists.

Pauline Curnier Jardin receives the "Prize of the National Gallery" at the award ceremony in the Hamburger Bahnhof. Photo: Christophe Gateau/dpa/picture alliance via Getty Images.

French artist Pauline Curnier Jardin has been awarded Germany’s most prestigious prize for young artists. The Berlin-based artist was the unanimous choice of the jury of the tenth edition of the Preis der Nationalgalerie, which was announced last night, September 12, at the Hamburger Bahnhof museum, where works by the shortlisted artists is currently on view.

Jardin, who was born in Marseilles, presents an immersive installation that includes a film work. In a statement, the jury called it “compelling,” and like “a delirious circus.” The artist’s work provides “an unsettling experience based on the confusion of our time,” they added.

The Preis der Nationalgalerie is one of the most lauded awards in Germany, given every two years to an artist under the age of 40 who lives and works in Germany. Past winners include Anne Imhof, Omer Fast, Olafur Eliasson, and Elmgreen & Dragset. Although the award does not include prize money for the winner or runners up, it does mean Jardin gets a major solo exhibition at one of the Nationalgaerie’s Berlin museums in 2020.

Pauline Curnier Jardin’s installation at the Hamburger Bahnhof. © Mathias Voelzke

The runners up are the British artist Simon Fujiwara, Flaka Haliti from Kosovo, and Katja Novitskova from Estonia—all whom are based in Germany. 

A common concern running through the works in the exhibition is the state of contemporary European society. Novitskova explores technological development with her ongoing research into biotechnology; Fujiwara presents four distinct works that illustrate today’s mass consumption (one included the largest archive of the book 50 Shades of Grey), and Haliti presents a pair of robots fabricated from materials from a NATO-led international peacekeeping force in her home country of Kosovo.

On this year’s high-powered jury were the director of the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Annie Fletcher, the Hamburger Bahnhof curator Anna-Catharina Gebbers, the outgoing director of the Nationalgalerie Udo Kittelmann, the Fondation Beyeler’s Theodora Vischer and the ex-MOCA LA chief, now director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art in Porto, director Philippe Vergne.

The public can vote towards the audience award, which will be announced in early 2020.

“Preis der Nationalgalerie 2019,” is on view through February 16, 2020 at the Hamburger Bahnof, Museum für Gegenwart in Berlin.

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