Lebanese Artists Win 2017 Marcel Duchamp Prize

BY Katrina Kufer / Dec 18 2017 / 18:53 PM

Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige bag the prestigious contemporary art award that recognises seminal talent in the French art scene

Lebanese Artists Win 2017 Marcel Duchamp Prize
© Audrey Laurans
Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige. Installation view of Palimpsestes. 2017

The Marcel Duchamp Prize is one of the most prestigious contemporary art awards. Following its launch in 2000 by ADIAF, the Association for the International Diffusion of French Art consisting of around 400 contemporary art collectors, it has annually recognised innovative talent in the French art scene – either born or based. While past winners have included the likes of Thomas Hirschhorn, Saâdane Afif, Cyprien Gaillard, and most recently, Kader Attia, the 2017 edition nominated Maja Bajevic, Charlotte Moth, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, and Vittorio Santoro before announcing Hadjithomas and Joreige as the winners. All four partake in a special group exhibition at the Centre Pompidou, Paris – curated by Alicia Knock this year – while the winners receive an additional EUR35,000. 

The international jury was composed of Bernard Blistène, Gilles Fuchs, Carmen Gimenez, Erika Hoffmann, Mao Jihong, Jérôme Sans and Akemi Shiraha. “Artists and filmmakers Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige wonderfully embody those artists who have chosen to come and work in France for the quality and vitality of the artistic life they find here. Settled in Paris, they are today an integral part of our French scene," explained Gilles Fuchs, president of ADIAF, in a statement. Blistène, president of the jury and director of the Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, added: “The art of Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige suggests an archaeology of memory, at the core of an unfailingly troubled present.”

The work presented for the Marcel Duchamp Prize 2017 exhibition, the Uncomformities Project, addresses the memory and excavation of urban construction sites to reveal complex connections between buried histories and the chaos of current times on the psyche in Lebanon, Greece and France. The series of compositions utilises material from the dug-up land, tracing temporal ruptures, natural disasters and geological movement to outline the cycle of construction and deconstruction and debates on the Anthropocene epoch. Their film Palimpsestes and a series of photographs accompanied by drawings entitled Zig Zag over time (all from 2017) proposing narratives for the aforementioned compositions, are also included within the exhibition.