Frank Bowling wins the 2022 Wolfgang Hahn Award

London-based Guyanese artist Frank Bowling has been announced as the winner of the 2022 Wolfgang Hahn Prize. He will receive the prize at a ceremony to be held on November 15 next year, the day before the opening of ‘Art Cologne 2022. The Ludwig Museum will acquire its acrylic work on canvas 2020 The flogging of the dead donkey, which comments on the monochrome painting through deep red and dirty brown hues speckled with vibrant color spots and smeared with sneaker prints. The painting will be Bowling’s first work to be acquired by a German public collection.

“Frank Bowling’s paintings and critical writings have nothing less than redefined the possibilities of painting over the past six decades,” said guest award juror Zoe Whitley, director of London’s Chisenhale Gallery, who joined the members of the board of directors of the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst to select a winner. Whitley noted that “Bowling’s work preserves the history of pigments, wax and gel. With unparalleled chromatic and material sensitivity, Frank Bowling establishes rules in the studio which he invents, adheres to and then disrupts with a subsequent series of completely new rules and parameters for the image plane. It is a complex thought process executed on canvas, responding to the long tradition of painting in an always dynamic way.

The eighty-seven-year-old Bowling, whose work is preserved in more than fifty collections around the world, was also the editor of the New York-based newspaper. Arts Review from 1969 to 1972, a period during which he made a significant contribution to the dialogue on black artists in America. His recent exhibitions include the solo exhibition “Mappa Mundi” at Haus der Kunst, Munich, in 2017-19 and a major 2019 retrospective of his work at Tate Britain in London. Bowling was awarded the Order of the British Empire in 2008 for its services to the arts; last year he was knighted at the queen’s birthday ceremony.

The Hahn Prize has been awarded annually since 1994 by the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig, to contemporary artists whose work is innovative but who may be relatively unknown in Germany. The prize includes up to approximately $ 116,000, which is used to purchase a winner’s work or series for the Ludwig Museum. An exhibition of the recipient’s work is staged, accompanied by a catalog.

“Since 2017, when I saw the Frank Bowling exhibition Mundi card at Haus der Kunst I was hoping to acquire one of his works for the collection of Museum Ludwig, ”said Museum Ludwig director Yilmaz Dziewior. “After all, a work like The flogging of the dead donkey, in which the spirit of American painting and British abstraction combine to form an incomparable and highly independent position, represented a gap in our large and multifaceted collection of abstract trends. I am delighted that we can now help give Frank Bowling’s work the attention it deserves in Germany.


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