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Kapwani Kiwanga wins the Marcel Duchamp Prize

©Bertrand Prévost

After presenting the Flowers for Africa series at the Centre Pompidou, Franco-Canadian artist Kapwani Kiwanga was awarded the 20th Marcel Duchamp Prize, succeeding Éric Baudelaire, the 2019 winner. 

On Monday, October 19, the jury - composed of Bernard Blistène, Director of the Musée national d'art moderne - Centre Pompidou; Gilles Fuchs, Founder and President of the Association pour la diffusion internationale de l’art français (ADIAF); art historians Chris Dercon and Marie-Cécile Zinsou; Michèle Guyot-Roze, President of the Fondation Hippocrène; Gitte Ørskou, Director of the Moderna Museet in Sweden; and Akemi Shiraha, Representative for ADIAF - awarded the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2020 to Kapwani Kiwanga who was in competition with artists Alice Anderson, Hicham Berrada, and Enrique Ramirez. 

Kapwani Kiwanga is an established artist who, after studying anthropology and comparative religion at McGill University in Montreal and then attending the Ecole des Beaux-Arts de Paris, began using her artistic practice to question the social sciences she studied at University. Flowers for Africa is a fine example of her reflection on the legacies of colonialism: based on visual records, Kiwanga mixes history with botany to express the process of independence of African countries. After spending hours scrupulously studying the flower arrangements that were created for the independence ceremonies on the African continent, the artist recreated these floral compositions and let this living display fade to represent the past and especially to represent memory

"The richness and complexity of Kapwani Kiwanga's project, bordering on a reflection between anthropology and art, opens up a vast poetic and political program, a true laboratory of today's thought on memory and archives as sources of the world's transfiguration," said Bernard Blistène. 

Represented by Jérôme Poggi Gallery (Paris), Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg/ Cape Town), and Tanja Wagner Gallery (Berlin), Kapwani Kiwanga has previously won New York's Frieze Artist Award and the Sobey Award for the Arts in Canada in 2018. The talent of this artist has been recognized once again by The Prix Marcel Duchamp, who granted her not only a trophy but also the financial support of 35 000€. 

Watch the announcement of the Winner of the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2020:



About the Prize

The Prix Marcel Duchamp was created in 2000 by Gilles Fuchs, Founder and President of ADIAF, with the aim of highlighting the abundance of creativity in the French art scene at the start of the 21st century and to support leading French artists internationally. Each year, this collectors’ prize chooses a winner from a shortlist of four French artists or artists living in France working in the visual arts (installation, video, painting, photography, sculpture, performance…). The prize highlights the most significant French artists of their generation, not unlike Duchamp himself, with the support of the Association Marcel Duchamp, and aims to encourage all new, stimulating art forms. Each year, all of the members of the association are invited to participate in a voting process after which the four nominees are chosen by a committee of collectors. The artists are then invited by the National Museum of Modern Art to take part in a group show at the Pompidou Centre in tandem with the galleries that represent them and that participate in the production of the pieces. The winner is then chosen by an international jury of established contemporary art experts made up of distinguished curators and French and foreign collectors. Both ADIAF’s selection committee and the international jury change each year. Over 80 artists ( both winners, and nominees) have been recognized by the Prix Marcel Duchamp. Since its inception, the prize has become a veritable ambassador for French art, consistently offering a unique, panoramic view of the vitality of the French contemporary art scene.