Francis Alÿs to Receive $100,000 After Winning One of the World’s Biggest Art Prizes

Hot off doing the Belgian Pavilion at this year’s Venice Biennale, artist Francis Alÿs will receive the Museum Ludwig’s Wolfgang Hahn Prize. With a $100,000 cash purse, the prize is among the world’s biggest art prizes.

Through the award, Alÿs, who is based in Mexico City, will have an exhibition at the Cologne museum. His work will also be acquired for the institution’s collection.

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“Of course I am much honored, and in these polarized times, receiving such an award is significant and invigorating as it makes me feel that there is some coincidence of my own preoccupations and the public’s, and that a dialogue is possible,” Alÿs said in a statement.

Alÿs’s Venice Biennale pavilion was among the most widely praised ones in the exhibition. Titled “The Nature of the Game,” the pavilion featured a number of videos of children in various nations playing together. The pavilion’s contents, which also include new paintings by Alÿs, are set to appear at the WIELS contemporary art center in Brussels next year.

Calling the videos shown at the Belgian Pavilion “glorious,” the Guardian critic Laura Cumming praised Alÿs for his ability to spotlight happiness in a world inundated with war and poverty.

Other well-known works by Alÿs have focused on representations of conflict, life inside refugee camps, and the difficulties posed by borders for the people who live near them.

In a statement, Museum Ludwig director Yilmaz Dziewior said that, although Alÿs had exhibited widely in the international art scene, public institutions in Germany largely lack his work altogether. Because of that, the acquisition of his work via the prize offers “great enrichment for our institution.”


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