Jonas Staal

In his work, Jonas Staal explores the relationship between art, propaganda and democracy. The artist analyses and questions the world of today, and its dominant power regimes. Using artistic and theoretical manifestations – including public interventions, exhibitions, video studies and publications – Jonas simultaneously presents new democratic models to help create a more solidary world.

For the Prix de Rome 2023, Jonas Staal continues his artistic exploration of (neo)colonial propaganda through the centuries. He focuses on Ascension, a volcanic island in the Atlantic Ocean. Staal uses video, a sculptural model and a diary from 1728 to explain how the island was formed by colonial, industrial and exploitative power structures; from an open-air prison for an exiled Dutch East India Company crew member to the geoengineering of the ecosystem and the construction of satellite dishes for planetary surveillance.

The jury

The jury believes that Jonas Staal’s oeuvre is systematic and rigorous, while giving space to new visual storylines. The members of the jury appreciate how the artist consistently connects global and local themes, while working on the development of a new discourse. Jonas allows personal reflections and new conceptual and visual methods to enter into his work. Alongside his continuing interest in designing new models for the future, the jury acknowledges his growing interest in the critical examination of models from the past.