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FOS awarded the ARKEN Art Prize 2017
ARKEN Art Prize and ARKEN Travel Grant 2017. From the left: ARKEN director Christian Gether, Nina Beier, Marie Kølbæk Iversen and FOS. Photo: Henrik Jauert.

ISHØJ.- This year the ARKEN Art Prize of DKK 100,000 went to Thomas Poulsen alias FOS, while the two travel grants of DKK 50,000 each went to Nina Beier and Marie Kølbæk Iversen. The ARKEN Art Prize and Travel Grants are donated by Annie & Otto Detlefs’ Philanthropic Foundation.

FOS is nationally and internationally acclaimed for his uncompromising works that explore the intersections between architecture, design, art and performance. The artwork itself may be a camping caravan, a soap factory, the furnishings of a fashion store, a concert programme or a floating bar. In works that combine functionality with popular appeal, FOS explores how our physical surroundings and social relations influence one another. His works take their point of departure in what he calls ‘social design’. The works all have in common that they reach out into society and everyday life.

On the choice of this year’s winner, ARKEN Director Christian Gether says: “FOS is awarded the ARKEN Art Prize 2017, because of his critical social investigations of the ordinary life that unfolds between physical spaces and social situations. Based on his concept of ‘social design’ his experimental art disrupts our habitual thinking about what art is and should be.”

Giant cocktails and hovering coffee cups
Nina Beier’s enigmatic works consist of a wide variety of everyday objects in mysterious and subtle compositions. Squashed wigs, savaged china dogs and vases, giant cocktails and hovering coffee cups surprise us on the one hand as artworks, on the other as absurd transformations of the familiar. Her surreal works are at once profoundly complex and extremely simple in their playful defiance of the force of gravity, the relationship between life and death and a standard 1:1 understanding of scale. Nina Beier has been awarded the ARKEN Travel Grant 2017 because she elegantly and critically shakes up our world-view. When our habitual notions and ideas are challenged for a while, the potential for new understandings arises. Beier’s works offer precisely this potential, and this is why she has been awarded the ARKEN Travel Grant.

Immersive installations
Marie Kølbæk Iversen works with video, photography, light and sound installations. Her works tempt us with their seductive finish and their accurate and apparently simple construction, but behind the minimalist expression of the works lie complex technical structures and concepts. In several of her works the viewer is given a central place. Kølbæk Iversen’s abstract, colourful patterns engage us bodily and immerse us in installations that are all about the body, physicality and phenomena such as phantom limb pains. The works conceal poetic and existential narratives about what it means to be human. Marie Kølbæk Iversen is awarded the ARKEN Travel Grant 2017 for her distinctive ability to render visible invisible features such as bodily feelings and sensibilities. She expands the world of art by working across the boundaries of the sciences and the arts, as she highlights the vulnerable, sensing, active body.

Thomas Poulsen alias FOS (b. 1971 in Charlottenlund) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, including both solo and group exhibitions. In 2006 he designed a shelter for men – Mændenes Hjem on Istedgade in central Copenhagen – in collaboration with Kenneth Balfelt. In 2011 FOS participated in the Venice Biennale with the work Osloo, which was a floating bar and the setting for a succession of events. In 2015 FOS furnished the exclusive store of the Céline brand in London followed by stores in Paris and New York. He lives and works in Copenhagen.

Nina Beier (b. 1975 in Aarhus) graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. She has gained great international recognition for her participation in numerous exhibitions including the Sydney Biennial in 2016 and the Lyons Biennial in 2015. Nina Beier lives and works in Berlin.

Marie Kølbæk Iversen (b. 1981 in Herning) graduated from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen. She has gained widespread acclaim on the international art scene with participation in exhibitions at the Gwangju Biennial in South Korea in 2016 and at the Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva in 2014-2015. Marie Kølbæk Iversen lives and works in Copenhagen.

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