While the 2017 edition of the award and €15,000 cash prize went to Romanian artist Ciprian Muresan on 23 March at the Salon du Dessin (Paris), the Centre Pompidou has just opened a show featuring the 30 winning and runner-up artists who have been recognised by the prize since 2007.
The Drawing Prize, an initiative of the Daniel & Florence Guerlain Contemporary Art Foundation, has been active since 1996 but only redirected its energy fully towards the prize in 2007. Initially a biennial event, it became annual as it strove to nurture contemporary drawing, which has flowed in and out of popularity in recent years. Based on the choice of a six-collector jury, the award goes to France-based international artists whose practices heavily involve non-mechanical, non-computer-based works on paper. Exceptionally, artists who live outside of France can be considered if they have a strong cultural link through institutional exhibitions.
This year’s winner creates stylised, bordering on illustrative drawing that are darkly ironic interpretations of present day Romania. Displaying the nation’s ambivalent relation to recent history, the end of communism, loss of culture, and a fascination with the West, Muresan’s works also suggest the end of Utopia, speaking of a uniformity sparked by globalisation and consensual culture. However, his critique of the present does not idealise the past, rather, “I think more about how to negotiate with history or manage the legacies and traces of the past,” Muresan said in an interview with Marie Maertens following his win.
Previous winners include Silvia Bächli, Sandra Vásquez de la Horra, Catharina Van Eetvelde, Marcel Van Eeden, Jorinde Voigt, Susan Hefuna, Tomasz Kowalski, Jockum Nordström, and last year’s Cameron Jamie, whose works will be on display alongside each iteration’s two runners-up.
The Drawing Prize exhibition runs 14 June-11 September at the Centre Pompidou, Paris. For more information visit centrepompidou.fr