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Sondra Perry wins Nam June Paik Award 2018
Exhibition view of Nam June Paik Award 2018 at Westfälischer Kunstverein. Photo: Thorsten Arendt.

MUNSTER.- Sondra Perry won the 9th Nam June Paik Award, International Media Art Award of the Kunststiftung NRW - Arts Foundation North Rhine-Westphalia.

Andreas Angelidakis (b. 1968, GR, lives in Athens)
Melanie Bonajo (b. 1978, NL, lives in Amsterdam)
Antoine Catala (b. 1974, F, lives in New York)
Hanne Lippard (b. 1984, GB, NO national, lives in Berlin)
Sondra Perry (b. 1986, US, lives in New Jersey)

The Nam June Paik Award was inaugurated in 2002 by the Kunststiftung NRW and since then has been awarded to outstanding artists from all over the world, who—very much in the spirit of the pioneer and true avant-gardist, Nam June Paik—take risks, bridge cultural boundaries and whose work is transdisciplinary. The foundation's award includes prize money of EUR 25,000 and is geared towards the time-based contextualisation of media art.

An international panel of experts comprising Karen Archey, curator for contemporary art and time-based media at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Mark Beasley, curator for media art and performance at the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington, Mélanie Bouteloup, director of the Bétonsalon – Center for Art and Research, Paris, Katerina Gregos, curator, writer and lecturer, Brussels and Krist Gruijthuijsen, director of the KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin decided upon the winner at Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster, where the 2018 Nam June Paik Award Show is being held.

The panel’s findings:
"The jury is pleased to announce the selection of Sondra Perry as the winner of the 2018 Nam June Paik Award. Perry distinguished herself with her complex investigation into subjectivity and technological representation through 3D animation. Perry’s video installation IT’S IN THE GAME ’17 (2017) weaves a narrative originating with the relationship between her and her twin brother, whose likeness was unjustly appropriated by Electronic Arts, a video game company, as a part of an animated basketball game. A former uncompensated college basketball player for Georgia Southern University, Perry’s brother accompanies her on a trip to the Metropolitan Museum, where they inspect its ethnographic collection plucked from African, Middle Eastern and Southern American nations.

Perry’s work highlights the enduring issue of the exploitation of the black diaspora as public material without due compensation. By inverting her brother’s avatar and showing an 'inside-out' view of his hip joint, the work further raises questions surrounding the representation of the body within digital technologies, its simultaneous likeness and uncanny abjection. She further considers the discrepancy between the physical experience and understanding of cultural artifacts and their digital representation. In addition, by referencing the ethnographic museum and the appropriation of her brother’s image by a corporation, Perry bridges the colonial and imperial roots of this history with its enduring contemporary manifestation.

The jury would like to further congratulate the nominated artists Andreas Angelidakis, Melanie Bonajo, Antoine Catala, and Hanne Lippard for the outstanding quality of their work. Their excellent contributions provided backdrop for a spirited discussion among the jury. We wish them the utmost best in their future endeavors."

Sondra Perry (b. 1986, Perth Amboy, New Jersey) graduated from Columbia University, New York and studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in Madison, Maine. Her solo shows include Typhoon coming on, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London, 2018, Eclogue for [in]HABITABILITY, Seattle Art Museum, 2017 and Resident Evil, The Kitchen, New York, 2016. She engages critically with the construct of Blackness in her videos, sculptures and installations. Often based on her own experience, she investigates the representation, narratives and ideas of and about black American identities and their life worlds. Her particular focus is upon the connection between new technology and the representation and concomitant (self-)assurance of identities through them.

Perry joins a list of former Nam June Paik Award winners such as: Lawrence Abu Hamdan (2016), Camille Henrot (2014), Cevdet Erek (2012) and Rosa Barba (2010).

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