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2016 Wolfgang Hahn Prize goes to artist Huang Yong Ping
With this year’s selection of Huang Yong Ping, one of the leading artists of the Chinese avant-garde is receiving the Wolfgang Hahn Prize.

COLOGNE.- For the twenty-second time in annual succession, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig is awarding the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. In 2016 the recipient will be the artist Huang Yong Ping, who was born in China in 1954 and has lived in Paris since 1989. With the prize, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst honors the consistent development of an award-winner’s artistic work. It will acquire a key work for the Museum Ludwig’s collection. The purchase is accompanied by an exhibition in the Museum Ludwig and a publication.

The selection of the 2016 award-winner took place in collaboration with Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig, and this year’s guest juror, Doryun Chong, chief curator at the contemporary art and visual culture museum M+ in Hong Kong. Also participating on the jury were the board members of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst: Kurt von Storch (chairman), Gabriele Bierbaum, Sabine DuMont Schütte, Jörg Engels, and Robert Müller-Grünow.

Dr. Yilmaz Dziewior, director of the Museum Ludwig, remarked: “The selection of Huang Yong Ping is an important course-setting decision for the profile of our collection. With him we are honoring an artist who has since the 1980s examined issues of politics versus culture and universality versus individuality in intersections between Chinese and Western art, and who has created a thoroughly autonomous oeuvre. I’m very delighted that the Wolfgang Hahn Prize is being awarded to him in 2016 - it’s a long overdue decision! His work is of enormous significance for the expansion of our collection.”

Doryun Chong, guest juror for the 2016 Wolfgang Hahn Prize and the chief curator at M+ in Hong Kong, commented: “It is thrilling that the jury of the 2016 Wolfgang Hahn Prize has selected Huang Yong Ping. In his now more than three-decade-long career, which began in China in the 1980s and has continued and expanded in Europe and globally since the 1990s, he has traversed not only many countries and cultures, but also a fantastic range of topics and chronologies in his work. His oeuvre is a singular achievement noted for its often awe-inspiring physical grandeur, incredible iconography, and rigorous intellectualism, which alter our view of the world and sense of how we exist in history and in the world. He is both a masterful sculptor and a contemporary bard for our time.”

Likewise good news for Cologne is the engagement of BAUWENS and Ebner Stolz, two companies located in the city. Together BAUWENS and Ebner Stolz have committed themselves to supporting the Wolfgang Hahn Prize for at least three years. They are providing substantial funding for the evening of the award ceremony, the exhibition at the Museum Ludwig, and the publication. With its over 140-years of operation and proven expertise in residential and commercial properties, the BAUWENS group of companies is a Germany-wide partner for the most diverse real-estate projects. Ebner Stolz is one of Germany’s largest independent consultancy firms and has distinguished itself by advising its clients using a multidisciplinary approach that combines accounting, tax consulting, legal advice, and business consulting. The BAUWENS group is located in Cologne’s Rheinauhafen in the same building as the Ebner Stolz Partnerschaft mbB.

Kurt von Storch, chairman of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst, announced: “We are extremely pleased to have acquired BAUWENS and Ebner Stolz as two regional partners for a long-term collaboration. Their sponsorship offers the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst the opportunity to support the Museum Ludwig all the more comprehensively. It helps us to come closer to our goal of establishing a sustainable and reliable support for the Museum Ludwig.”

With this year’s selection of Huang Yong Ping, one of the leading artists of the Chinese avant-garde is receiving the Wolfgang Hahn Prize. His works contain subtle cross-references between conceptual, Western-characterized culture and that of the traditional Far East. They combine irony and humor, along with the political and the spiritual. The intention of his often large-scale sculptural works is complex and multilayered and he is quite frequently concerned with the staging of contradictions.

Huang Yong Ping - whose last name is written in the typical China manner before his first name - was born in 1954 in Xiamen, a coastal city in Fujian Province in southeast China, and studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zhejiang Province, China, graduating in 1981. He had his first exhibition at the Cultural Palace of Xiamen in 1983. In the following years he founded the art movement “Xiamen Dada” together with other artists and exhibited repeatedly in China. In 1989 he participated in the groundbreaking exhibition Magiciens de la terre, curated by Jean-Hubert Martin at the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Grande halle de la Villette in Paris. In this exhibition featuring Western and non-Western artists in equal measure, Martin challenged Western art history’s centeredness on Europe and the United States. In 1989 the massacre on Tiananmen Square in Peking took place. That same year Huang decided to relocate to France to live and work.

In the following decades Huang participated in such important biennials and triennials as the Carnegie International (1991) in Pittsburgh, the Manifesta 1 (1996) in Rotterdam, the Third Shanghai Biennale (2001), the Guangzhou Triennial (2002), the Tenth Istanbul Biennial (2007), and the Third Moscow Biennale (2009). In 1999 he represented France at the Venice Biennale together with Jean-Pierre Bertrand. In 1997 De Appel in Amsterdam mounted the artist’s first comprehensive retrospective. In 2005 the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis organized the major retrospective of the artist’s work, House of Oracles, which subsequently traveled to MassMoCA in Massachusetts and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. Other important solo exhibitions of Huang’s work include Wu Zei at the Musée océanographique in Monaco in 2010, Huang Yong Ping at the Nottingham Contemporary (2011), and AMOY/XIAMEN at the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Lyon in 2013.

In Germany, Huang has participated in such exhibitions as the Skulptur Projekte Münster (Münster Sculptural Projects) in 1997 and the 1999 show Kunstwelten im Dialog at the Museum Ludwig in Cologne. He is currently organizing a large retrospective at the Power Station of Art, the contemporary art museum in Shanghai (opening: March 17, 2016). Huang has also been selected to exhibit at Monumenta 2016 in the Grand Palais in Paris, joining ranks with previous guest artists Anselm Kiefer (2007), Richard Serra (2008), Christian Boltanski (2010), Anish Kapoor (2011), Daniel Buren (2012), and Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (2014). There he will have carte blanche to create a space-filling installation in the thirteen-thousand-square-meter hall (opening: May 8, 2016).

On April 12, 2016 the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst will award Huang the Wolfgang Hahn Prize; on the occasion of the awarding, an exhibition featuring a selection of Huang’s works will be shown at the Museum Ludwig.

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