Trisha Donnelly Wins Germany’s Prestigious Wolfgang Hahn Prize

Her elusive work echoes the intentions of the prize's namesake.

Trisha Donnelly, UNTITLED, (2012). Courtesy of the artist, Julia Stoschek Collection

American artist Trisha Donnelly has been named the winner of the 2017 Wolfgang Hahn Prize, awarded annually by the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. The 23rd recipient of the prestigious award, Donnelly will receive a solo exhibition and a catalogue. In addition, the museum will acquire works by the artist.

The Hahn Prize’s solo exhibitions traditionally coincide with the city’s major art fair, Art Cologne, whose 2017 edition runs from April 26-29. Donnelly’s show is slated to open on April 25.

Donnelly—who does not permit any explanatory texts to accompany her works—uses installation, light, video, and sometimes performance to alter the viewer’s experience of the exhibition space and perception of time. While her practice can be challenging to some, it is precisely her resistance to readily-consumable artworks that convinced the jury.

“Her radical approach to themes such as aesthetics and reception were decisive factors in the selection of Trisha Donnelly as the award’s winner,” said Suzanne Cotter, director of the Serralves Museum of contemporary art in Porto, who headed the jury.

“As an artist she occupies a position of committed resistance to the easy appropriation of art as something contained and ultimately controllable. At the same time, the extraordinary generosity of her work, that touches on the visual—in particular the photographic—the spoken, the aural and the physical, is electrifying in its permission,” she added.

“Her practice thus echoes Wolfgang Hahn’s, who saw in the avant-garde the connection between art and life,” Cotter concluded, speaking for the jury which also consisted of Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig; Mayen Beckmann, chairwoman of the Museum Ludwig’s Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst; as well as its board members Gabriele Bierbaum, Sabine DuMont Schütte, Jörg Engels, and Robert Müller-Grünow.

The New York-based artist has been featured in numerous institutional solo exhibitions across the US, and has most recently been featured in Europe with major exhibitions at the Villa Serralves in Porto (2016), and the Serpentine in London (2014). She gained recognition in Germany following her show at Portikus, Frankfurt (2010), and at the Julia Stoschek collection in Düsseldorf last year.

She won, in 2010, Rob Pruitt´s Art Award, as well as the Prix de la Fondation Luma in Arles. In 2011, she was the recipient of the 10th Sharjah Biennale prize, and the Faber-Castell prize for drawing in 2012.

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