Christian Friedrich wins the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen

 

7th edition of the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen goes to Christian Friedrich

The Cobra Art Prize aims to encourage the contemporary art practice of an artist who translates the Cobra philosophy into the present.

 

Artist Christian Friedrich (1977, Germany) is the winner of the Cobra Art Prize 2017. The Cobra Art Prize encourages the contemporary art practice of an artist who translates the Cobra philosophy into the present. Experiment, interdisciplinarity and radicality are at the heart of this legacy.

By selecting Christian Friedrich (living and working in Amsterdam and Berlin), the jury honours an artist with a relatively hidden oeuvre. Friedrich operates close to the true underground. This modest visibility gives Friedrich the freedom to steer a totally idiosyncratic course, which, as subject matter, also touches on the mysterious, the uncomfortable and the shameful. Friedrich’s work is about questions of power and seduction, control and submission, in which each position is considered; that of the curator, the artist, and as his audience as well. When he presents his work in public, as in the Netherlands in 2014 at Haarlem’s De Hallen, it is by way of a compelling exhibition architecture that completely disarms the viewer and evokes a feeling of being no longer entirely free in their decisions and movements, as if the visitor has also submitted to the power game of the artist. It is partly that discomfort that has made Friedrich famous in art circles for works that are controversial, confrontational, and intangible. Their great diversity in forms of expression alludes to a human nature that sees its civilization reduced to a superficial, paper-thin layer on the verge of cracking. The tension can sometimes truly be cut with a knife.

Jury chair, Domeniek Ruyters: “With Friedrich, the jury honoured an artist who has shown his possession of an exceptionally experimental mind, which is not prepared to compromise. Each step he makes as an artist incorporates shock and the risk of failure. Not many artists with his track record are willing to do that”.

 

Jury chair, Domeniek Ruyters: “With Friedrich, the jury honoured an artist who has shown his possession of an exceptionally experimental mind, which is not prepared to compromise. Each step he makes as an artist incorporates shock and the risk of failure. Not many artists with his track record are willing to do that”.

The prize is awarded by the Cobra Art Prize Amstelveen Foundation, and generously supported by the municipality of Amstelveen and the Cobra Museum. This year marks the 7th award. Previous winners include Jennifer Tee, Nathaniel Mellors and Gijs Frieling. The prize consists of an exhibition, a publication, and a sum of €10,000.

The jury for the Cobra Art Prize 2017 is composed of Domeniek Ruyters (Chief editor at Metropolis M, chair), Roos Gortzak (Director at the Vleeshal, Middelburg), Bart van der Heide (Head of exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam) and Xander Karskens (Artistic Director at the Cobra Museum of Modern Art). The Cobra Art Prize committee members are Marieke Sanders, Mels Crouwel, Eelco Dijk and Els Ottenhof.

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