The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung opened the 2015 Hans and Lea Grundig Prize for entries in autumn 2014. The jury has now awarded the prize to Olga Jitlina, an artist from St. Petersburg; Lith Bahlmann and Matthias Reichelt, a curator and journalist, both from Berlin; and to a project at Bauhaus University Weimar that was coordinated by Ines Weizman, an architectural theorist.
The competition met with enormous interest and this was echoed in the more-than-260 submissions that the jury received, many of which were from abroad. Some of these submissions were particularly noteworthy and reflected the high standard of the competition. The jury would like to issue a special commendation to outstanding works that reached the shortlist.
In 2015, the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize for art was aimed at contemporary pieces that could be described as “diasporistic” in the sense of R.B. Kitaj. “The diasporist lives and paints in two or more societies at once.” Diasporistic art “is contradictory at its heart, being both internationalist and particularist. It can be inconsistent, which is a major blasphemy against the logic of much art education, because life in Diaspora is often inconsistent and tense; schismatic contradiction animates each day” (First Diasporist Manifesto). More and more people are experiencing inconsistency, resistance, migration, exodus and exile; they live in one or more societies at the same time, but also dare to make art that is political in its radicalism. Submissions to the art history category were to develop and explore the biographies and work of artists who had been persecuted and forced into exile by the Nazi regime. The art education category, in contrast, was dedicated to the mediation of socially critical museum and non-museum pieces from the 20th century in today’s cultural contexts.
The Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung awards the prize in memory of Hans and Lea Grundig for services to art, aesthetics and art mediation. Hans Grundig (1901-1958) was an anti-fascist artist from Dresden who was banned from working under the Nazis, arrested numerous times, and held between 1940 and 1944 in Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Lea Grundig (1906-1977) was repeatedly arrested by the Nazis before leaving for exile to Palestine in 1939. The prize was first awarded by Lea Grundig at the University of Greifswald in 1972, but the award only continued until 1996. In 2011, the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung took over the competition from the University of Greifswald. In 2012, the prize was awarded to Oliver Sukrow, whose master’s thesis at the University of Greifswald focused on a historical-critical analysis of Lea Grundig’s controversial function as president of the East German Association of Visual Artists from 1964 to 1970.
The jury was co-chaired by Dr Eva Atlan, curator of the Jewish Museum in Frankfurt, and Dr Eckhart Gillen, an art historian and curator from Berlin; it also consisted of Professor Irene Dölling, Henning Heine, Professor Ladislav Minarik, Dr Rosa von der Schulenburg, Oliver Sukrow, Dr Angelika Timm and Tanya Ury.
The jury recommends that the competition organisers find a suitable manner to publicise the winning and shortlisted works, for example, as an exhibition. The jury also recommends that a Hans and Lea Grundig symposium be organised for 2016 to involve the winning artists and researchers alongside relevant experts in the preparations for the 2017 competition.
Intensive dialogue with relevant actors from the art world, academia and social movements should enable the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize to gain its own reputation and a recognised cultural position.
The 2015 Hans and Lea Grundig Prize will be awarded on 26 November 2015 in Berlin on the evening before the events marking the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung’s 25th anniversary.
More information is available at: www.hans-und-lea-grundig.de