Winner of the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco's 48th International Prize for Contemporary Art, at La Casa Encendida

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Winner of the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco's 48th International Prize for Contemporary Art, at La Casa Encendida
Christine Sun Kim at the Award Ceremony. ©Philippe FITTE_5

MADRID.- The Star-Spangled Banner (2020), the winning work of this year’s PIAC, now being shown shown alongside two other works by Christine Sun Kim at La Casa Encendida since 11 November 2022 to 26 February 2023. This exhibition is on view during the International Contemporary Art Fair (ARCO) in Madrid.

First awarded in 1965, the Prix International d’Art Contemporain (PIAC) has been organized by the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco since 1983. Since 2010, it has been awarded every three years by the Artistic Council after consultation with international experts from the artistic world. The winner receives a sum of €75,000, which may include funding for the production of an original work. The exhibition, titled A String of Echo Traps, began on November 11th, 2022 and will continue to January 8th 2023, and from January 24th to February 26th 2023. In it the Berlin-based American artist uses a variety of formats to highlight the core of her artistic practice: musical notation, written language, computer graphics, sign language, the body, and strategically deployed humour to challenge the politics of sound and languages.

Christine Sun Kim is an American artist based in Berlin. Kim’s practice considers how sound operates in society, deconstructing its politics and exploring how oral languages operate as social currency. Musical notation, written language, infographics, American Sign Language (ASL), the use of the body and strategically deployed humour are all recurring elements in her practice. Working across drawing, performance, video and large-scale murals, Kim explores her relationship to spoken languages, her built and social environments and the world at large.

Kim has exhibited and performed internationally at Queens Museum, New York (2022); Drawing Center, New York (2022); Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (2021); Manchester International Festival, Manchester, UK (2021); MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambridge, MA (2020); Whitney Biennial, New York (2019); Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2019); Art Institute of Chicago (2018); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2017); De Appel Arts Center, Amsterdam (2017); Berlin Biennale (2016); Shanghai Biennale (2016); MoMA PS1, New York (2015); and Museum of Modern Art, New York (2013).

Kim is the recipient of the inaugural Ford and Mellon Foundations’ Disability Futures Fellowship and has been awarded a TED Senior Fellowship and an MIT Media Lab Fellowship. Her work can be found in numerous prominent collections, including those of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, LACMA, Tate Britain, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and Whitney Museum of American Art, among others. She is represented by François Ghebaly, Los Angeles and New York, and White Space Beijing.

The exhibition presents three works that clearly illustrate the various formats and concepts that Christine Sun Kim typically incorporates in her work.

The Star Spangled Banner (2020), the winning work of this year’s PIAC, is a video of Kim’s interpretation of the US national anthem in ASL at the country’s main sporting event: the Super Bowl. Accepting the invitation to perform was not an easy decision for the artist, as American football embodies values that are not her own. However, it was vital for her to maintain visibility for the Deaf community in America and for ASL. Unfortunately, Christine Sun Kim’s performance only got a few seconds of airtime, a clear sign of the work that still needs to be done to achieve more equitable visibility in the media for the Deaf community.

In Notating Transcribing Transcribing (2022), a 5.5 x 5 metre mural produced by the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco for the 48th edition of the PIAC, Kim explores the workings of language, often using drawing to represent the space where two languages intersect. In her drawings, Kim creates parallels between notation and interpretation as well as transcription and translation, blurring the lines between different ways of capturing the flow of spoken and signed languages.

In A String of Echo Traps (2022), produced by the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco for the 48th edition of the PIAC, Christine Sun Kim explores the notion of the echo as a literal and metaphorical phenomenon in the form of a digital animation (animation by Jan Joost Verhoef and sound by Matt Karmil). On the one hand, Kim compares working with a sign language interpreter to a kind of echo; a message “bounces” off the interpreter in another language, with a degree of delay and distortion. On the other hand, an echo also represents the way in which cultural views are communicated between a group of people and can become “trapped” as they pass from one person to another.

The Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco was founded on February 17th 1966 by H.S.H. Prince Rainier III in homage to His father, Prince Pierre, a great patron of literature and the arts.

Chaired today by H.R.H. the Princess of Hanover, the Foundation aims to promote contemporary creation.

Each year, H.S.H. the Sovereign Prince awards prizes following proposals by one of the Foundation’s three councils: the Literary Council, the Musical Council and the Artistic Council.

First awarded in 1965, the Prix International d’Art Contemporain (PIAC) has been organized by the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco since 1983. Under the artistic direction of Jean-Louis Froment from 2004 to 2010, Abdellah Karroum from 2011 to 2013, Lorenzo Fusi from 2013 to 2019, and Cristiano Raimondi since 2020, the PIAC was awarded annually until 2010. In its current structure, it is granted every three years by the Artistic Council after consultation with international experts from the art world. The winner receives a sum of €75,000, including possible funding for the production of an original work.

Previous finalists include Arthur Jafa, who received the award in 2019 for his artwork Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death (2016), as well as Rosa Barba, Dora García, Guido van der Werve, Didier Marcel, Candice Breitz and Carlos Garaicoa.
Starting in 2022, the Artistic Council of the Foundation has also introduced the Research Grant, aprogramme that aims toprovide support to an artist, institution, collective or art historian in their current or future research work in relation to the Mediterranean region.

Proposed by the Artistic Council, this triennial prize is not open to candidate submissions and is endowed with a prize of €10,000.

President: Her Royal Highness THE PRINCESS OF HANOVER Vice-President: Marie-Claude BEAUD
Artistic Director: Cristiano RAIMONDI (curator and designer) Barbara CASAVECCHIA (curator and writer)
Manuel CIRAUQUI (curator and writer) Petrit HALILAJ (artist)
Claire HOFFMANN (art historian and curator) Chus MARTÍNEZ (curator, art historian and writer)
Mouna MEKOUAR (curator and art critic) Christodoulos PANAYIOTOU (artist)

The work by Christine Sun Kim, 2022 PIAC laureate, will be presented at La Casa Encendida from November 11th 2022 to January 8th 2023 and from January 24th to February 26th 2023, within the background of the International Contemporary Art Fair ARCOmadrid.

La Casa Encendida is a social and cultural centre managed by Fundación Montemadrid, a dynamic space open to audiences of all ages and persuasions where visitors can find some of today’s most ground-breaking artistic expressions, as well as educational, philosophical and debating activities that revolve around the centre’s four main spheres of action: Arts, Solidarity, Environment and Education.

Its goal is to present new proposals in the visual arts, performance, music and film to the general public in order to support and encourage public participation in the creation, promotion and understanding of contemporary culture.

Cristiano Raimondi, Artistic Director
Presenting Christine Sun Kim’s work for the first time in Spain at La Casa Encendida is an honour both for the Fondation Prince Pierre of Monaco and for me as the project curator. Thanks to the art of Sun Kim, the non-Deaf can poetically access the reality of Deafness by contemplating works that transmute from visual graphics to musical signs. In Christine’s work, combined hand gestures and the speed of movement are used to signify a deeper understanding of what is mistakenly considered “the world of silence”. To the Deaf community, sound can be perceived through touch or by seeing movement. Having begun her career as a painter, Sun Kim came to appropriate sound, bringing it into her artistic territory and claiming its “ownership” in relationto the artistic community.

A musical note cannot be fully captured and expressed on paper and the same applies to a concept expressed through sign language. Both musical notes and concepts are highly spatial and modulated, so even the slightest change can modify their meaning. Born in a world where film images are accompanied by subtitles, Sun Kim considers American Sign Language (ASL) through a musical lens, using the repetition of graphic signs and words to create visual musical compositions that tell the story of Deaf people living within non-Deaf communities. The definition of social value is a central theme in Sun Kim’s work, allowing ASL to develop its own personal form of “currency” and to generate a broader reflection on the norms that determine the value of individuals within a society structured by such norms. In addition to The Star Spangled Banner (2020) the film presented to the jury by David Horvitz and for which the artist received our foundation’s award we decided to present two other works by her: a wall painting entitled Notating Transcribing Transcribing (2022) and the multi-channel video animation A String of Echo Traps (2022). We wanted to pay homage to Christine Sun Kim through a presentation that highlights the different mediums with which the Berlin-based American artist works, translating her passion for sound and its representation in space into rhythmic, physical works that presuppose and evoke modern themes that are urgent at a universal level, and not just specific to the Deaf community.

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