September 27, 2016 - Nasher Sculpture Center - Pierre Huyghe wins the 2017 Nasher Prize
September 27, 2016

Nasher Sculpture Center

Pierre Huyghe, Cambrian Explosion, 2014. Live marine ecosystem. Photo: Stefan Altenburger Photography Zürich.

Pierre Huyghe wins the 2017 Nasher Prize
September 26, 2016

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The Nasher Sculpture Center announces French artist Pierre Huyghe as the recipient of the 2017 Nasher Prize. In its second year, the Nasher Prize is the most ambitious international award in sculpture, established to honor a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities. Pierre Huyghe has profoundly expanded the parameters of sculpture through artworks encompassing a variety of materials and disciplines, bringing music, cinema, dance, or theater dramaturgy into contact with biology and philosophy, incorporating time based elements that varies in intensity, as diverse as fog, ice, parades, rituals, automata, computer programs, video games, dogs, bees, or microorganisms. Huyghe has consistently sought new ways to bring together unconventional and heterogeneous materials into a practice exceeding the sum of its multifarious parts.

Pierre Huyghe was selected for his extraordinary work by an international jury of directors, curators, artists, and historians who demonstrate an unparalleled expertise in the field of sculpture. Huyghe will be presented with an award designed by Renzo Piano, architect of the Nasher Sculpture Center, at a ceremony in Dallas on April 1, 2017.

“I’m looking at the co-evolution of interdependent agents, biotic and abiotic, real or symbolic—different states of living, self-organizing in a dynamic and unstable situation: mesh, porous, contingent. It could be immaterial things such as time, light, temperature, air, scents, but interconnected within a network of material systems in order to generate a particular and sensible experience,” says Pierre Huyghe. “This individual and inter-subjective experience within an environment is important in what I do. It speaks to the history of the things perceived as a link to a context and a time—to objects as transitory, as sentient, but also to considering objects as ecosystems—actual, virtual, indifferent—that you navigate and influence, as in a garden for example.”

The exhibitions or works Huyghe creates act as uncompleted, evolving worlds that people wander through, encountering living entities and environments that can range from intellectually provocative to hauntingly beautiful. As such, Huyghe’s achievements have deeply affected our understanding of sculpture’s possibilities, delving into urgent issues raised by technology and media—identity, community, ecology, knowledge—as well as enduring questions regarding time, the exhibition ritual, the role of the artist and the connections to each other.

“We are so delighted by the choice of Pierre Huyghe as our 2017 Nasher Prize laureate,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “His expansive view of sculpture so wonderfully embodies the goal of the Nasher Prize, which it to champion the greatest artistic minds of our time. His incorporation of living systems, films, situations, and objects into his sculpture highlight the complexities between art and life and challenge the very limits of art-making. And at this moment, when the environment and culture are so under threat, Huyghe’s imaginative, uncanny approach to the serious ecological and social issues facing our planet tie his oeuvre to the ancient purposes of sculpture: they possess a shamanistic quality which tips the mimetic into life.”

The 2017 Nasher Prize jurors are: Phyllida Barlow, artist; Lynne Cooke, Senior Curator, National Gallery of Art; Okwui Enwezor, Director, Haus der Kunst; Yuko Hasegawa, Chief Curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo (MOT); Steven A. Nash, founding Director of the Nasher Sculpture Center and Director Emeritus of the Palm Springs Art Museum; Alexander Potts, art historian; Sir Nicholas Serota, Director, Tate; Huma Bhabha, artist; and Pablo León de la Barra, UBS MAP Curator, Guggenheim.

“It was very important for those of us on the jury to continue to expand the purview of the Nasher Prize in its second year with the choice of an artist whose practice is dynamic, challenging, edifying, and in the case of Pierre Huyghe, very enigmatic,” says juror Okwui Enwezor. “Huyghe’s work extends far beyond any tidy definition of sculpture in ways that continue to grow and develop well into his career, allowing for ever new discoveries and artistic possibilities. In that, we found him exceedingly deserving of this significant award.”  

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