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Falke Pisano wins Prix de Rome 2013

Queen Maxima with Falke Pisano and minister Jet Bussemaker. Photo Shinji Otani Queen Maxima with Falke Pisano and minister Jet Bussemaker. Photo Shinji Otani

Today, artist Falke Pisano (NL, 1978) was presented with the Prix de Rome 2013 from Minister of Culture, Jet Bussemaker, in the presence of Queen Máxima. Pisano won the prize for her new piece Prison Work. The award includes a cash sum of 40,000 Euros and a residency in Rome.

The international jury awarded the prize to Falke Pisano for her willingness to seek new challenges, despite her past success, and to embark on a new direction with great precision and conviction, building on what was. The jury wrote: “Even though distance is sought in time, with subjects from the past, the work remains compelling and up-to-date.” Pisano surprised the jury with what for her is a highly political installation in which she reflects on ‘the body in crisis’, based on a fascinating historical analysis of the consequences of privatization in the prison system.

Falke Pisano studied at HKU University of the Arts Utrecht and the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. For some years, she has lived and worked in Berlin and recently she had solo exhibitions at De Vleeshal in Middelburg and The Showroom in London and did a performance at the Museum Reina Sofia in Madrid. Pisano’s work consists of extensive series like Figures of Speech (2006-2010), exploring the communicative aspects of art works, and The Body in Crisis (2011- ), studying historic moments at which people started to think differently about the human body.
For her work for the Prix de Rome 2013 she focused on the opening in 1984 of the Corrections Corporation of America, the first privatised prison in America (Houston, Texas). The body of the prisoner was used here as a cheap form of labour and thus became an important economic factor.

Falke Pisano was nominated for the Prix de Rome along with Christian Friedrich, Remco Torenbosch and Ola Vasiljeva. The four finalists were assessed on the basis of new work created over a period of five months which is exhibited in de Appel arts centre in Amsterdam. The jury concluded that the work periods had produced four solid installations, each with a completely individual character, design, theme and temporality. Surprisingly enough, the works on display appear to subtly affect one another, as in a group exhibition compiled by a curator.

According to the jury, the nominated artists offer a confrontational, sometimes even slightly disturbing view of modern reality, reflecting a world struggling with complex issues of a political, economic and social nature. The jury valued the fact that the artists did not avoid that confrontation with reality, as is appropriate in a world that wrestles with complex issues of political, economic and social nature. The jury commends the fact that the artists do not avoid the confrontation with reality, even expressly seeking it out, in order to chart a course through it in their own, inspiring way. This has led to highly stratified art, rich in content, which does not immediately yield its secrets but nonetheless remains very accessible.

Prix de Rome
The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most prestigious prize in the Netherlands for young artists under the age of 40. The award dates back to 1808 when Louis Napoleon introduced the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands to promote the arts. Although the award has regularly been renewed, the aim is still to trace talented artists and encourage them to develop and increase their visibility. Since January 2013, the award has been organised and financed by the Mondriaan Fund.

The jury, chaired by Birgit Donker (director of the Mondriaan Fund), comprises Kathleen Bühler (curator of the Kunstmuseum Bern), Ann Goldstein (director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Nicoline van Harskamp (artist and Prix de Rome winner in 2009), Navid Nuur (artist) and Domeniek Ruyters (editor-in-chief of Metropolis M).

The final presentation of the four nominated artists Falke Pisano, Christian Friedrich, Remco Torenbosch and Ola Vasiljeva is on display until 26 January in the Appel arts centre, Prins Hendrikkade 142 in Amsterdam.

During the presentation of the prize, the first copy of the publication Prix de Rome Visual Arts 2013 was handed to Prix de Rome winner Falke Pisano. The publication contains texts by Hans den Hartog Jager, Roos van der Lint and Stefan Kuiper.
(NAi010 Publishers, ISBN 978-94-6208-105-5, dutch/eng, ill., design: Lesley Moore)