Praemium Imperiale Prize Awarded To Gormley, Chipperfield And Pistoletto

The Turner Prize winning Sculptor Antony Gormley, British architect Sir David Chipperfield and painter Michelangelo Pistoletto are amung the recipients of this year’s Praemium Imperiale Honour, awarded by The Japan Art Association. They each receive £95,000 in prize money.

The awards were launched 25 years ago to reward five artists for their international impact in the specialist fields of painting, sculpture, architecture, music and theatre/film. The laureates are “the most important voices in the arts in the late 20th and early 21st Century”. They join  Plácido Domingo for Music and Francis Ford Coppola Theatre/Film.The announcement was made simultaneously in Rome, New York, London, Berlin, Paris and Tokyo.

Antony Gormley is one of the most acclaimed British artists. Although varied in form, his sculptures are stylistically unified by a thoughtful, silent stillness – a reflection of his interest in Eastern philosophy and Buddhism originating from his experiences travelling in India and Sri Lanka in the early 1970s. Gormley’s work can be seen in many major cities around the world and he is acknowledged as a leading maker of art in collective space. One of his major works, Another Place (1997), consists of 100 cast iron sculptures cast from his body, placed on a beach near Liverpool, looking out to sea. He says, “the body is not an object but a place we live.” His work is a meditation on the human condition, and bears witness to what it is like to be alive. He has consistently attempted to make sculptures that objectify interior states by using his own existence and physical self as material, tool and subject. Parallel to his body works, he has made structures and instruments that encourage the viewer “to engage with space, time and nature.”

David Chipperfield‘s architecture represents a more modest, thoughtful art form than many of his modernist predecessors. In his work, he attaches great importance to creating a dialogue with the intended site and then functionally connects the context of its history and culture to modern architecture. With an unerring eye for elegant diffuse and natural lighting, his designs reveal a building’s essential quality in a graceful and quiet atmosphere. In the 1980s, at the beginning of his career, most of his commissions were outside Britain, in particular in Japan. Understandably, his work often reflects the influence of Japanese culture and architecture, in particular the notion of ‘a borrowed view’ – where the external, natural landscape becomes framed and integral to the interior space. In 2009, he completed the twelve-year project for the reconstruction of the Neues Museum in Berlin, bringing new life into what used to be a ruined mid-19th century building and attracting worldwide acclaim.  His latest works include two museums in England, The Hepworth Wakefield and Turner Contemporary (2011) as well as the stunning new East Building of the Saint Louis Art Museum (2013), U.S.A. He has offices in London, Berlin, Milan and Shanghai and is working on a wide range of projects internationally.

Michelangelo Pistoletto a leading figure in the development of the Italian ‘Arte Povera’ movement, Michelangelo Pistoletto is best known internationally for his 1962 “Mirror Paintings” – painted figures on sheets of mirror-finished stainless steel. Born in Biella in the northern part of Italy, Pistoletto started painting in the 1950s. It was as painting a self-portrait with the traditional help of the mirror beside, that he started to pay attention to the outer space around himself – this sense of the outer space has been given life in his “Mirror Paintings” where the mirror reflects its surroundings and the viewer as a part of the artwork. These unique works, juxtaposing the past and the present, the two dimensional world and three-dimensional space, producing the fourth dimension (that is the time), have become the basis for his work and his artistic theory.


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