Koningin Máxima met Prix de Rome winaar 2015 Magali Reus. Foto: Shinji Otani

Jury report Prix de Rome Visual arts 2015

Artist Magali Reus (The Netherlands, 1981) was presented with the 2015 Prix de Rome for the visual arts today by the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen Máxima. Reus received this award for her new work Leaves. The award comes with a EUR 40,000 cash prize and a work period at the American Academy in Rome.

The international panel of judges decided to present the award to Magali Reus in recognition of the high quality of her presentation and the fact that one looks forward to seeing which step the artist will be taking next in her development. In the words of the judges: “The artist works with both focus and restraint towards a new course, while making clear-cut choices. She is able to translate this process into a stimulating presentation that is both formal and personal and gradually unveils its meaning to the viewer.” The panel was intrigued by the puzzling yet beautiful idiosyncrasy of the presented objects: their references to digital reality remain fragmented, while their enigmatic materiality raises more questions than can be answered.

After studying at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, in 2002, Magali Reus enrolled at Goldsmiths’ College in London, after which she attended Amsterdam’s Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten in 2013 and 2014. Reus lives and works in London. Her recent exhibitions include solos at The Approach in London, SculptureCenter in New York City, The Hepworth in Wakefield and the Westfälischer Kunstverein in Münster. Reus’ oeuvre consists of sculptural objects that establish a connection between 21st-century consumer products and the human body and between the aesthetic and the imperfect. For the 2015 edition of Prix de Rome, Reus chose to present five new works within the Leaves series. Reminiscent of padlocks, these large-scale objects are simultaneously alienating, seductive and detached. Magali Reus was nominated by Roos Gortzak (director Vleeshal Middelburg).

The other nominees for this year’s Prix de Rome besides Magali Reus were the artists’ collective Foundland, Hedwig Houben and Christian Nyampeta. These four finalists were judged on the basis of new work realised during a five-month work period, which will be exhibited at the arts centre de Appel in Amsterdam. The jury was impressed by the quality of the four presentations and observes that, while they are completely different in terms of their concept and formal elaboration, they are all nevertheless interrelated. Without exception, they draw attention to issues in today’s society while refusing to immediately disclose their own position. As such, the work produced for this edition of the Prix de Rome serves as evidence both of art’s ability to reflect on topical developments and the topicality of art itself.

Prix de Rome
The Prix de Rome is the oldest and most important Dutch award for visual artists under 40. Its history reaches back to 1808, when Louis Napoleon introduced the Prix de Rome in the Netherlands for the advancement of the arts. Although in the years that followed the award was regularly subject to changes to keep abreast of the times, its aim is still to identify exceptional, talented visual artists living in the Netherlands, to stimulate their further development and to increase their visibility. Since January 2013, the Mondriaan Fund has been responsible for the award.

The panel of judges for the 2015 award is chaired by Birgit Donker, Director of the Mondriaan Fund. Its members are Pernille Albrethsen (freelance critic, author and curator), Beatrix Ruf (Director of Stedelijk Museum), Jan van de Pavert (artist and recipient of the 1987 award), Francesco Stocchi (curator of modern and contemporary art at Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen) and Roy Villevoye (artist). For the jury report click here.

The final presentations by the recipient of the 2015 Prix de Rome and the other nominees can be viewed until 17 January 2016 at de Appel arts centre, Prins Hendrikkade 142 in Amsterdam.

The 2015 Prix de Rome is accompanied by a publication that focuses on the nominees’ work. This publication includes essays by Lucette ter Borg, Laure van den Hout and Richtje Reinsma.
(nai010 publishers, Dutch/English, design: Lesley Moore, ISBN 978-94-6208-252-6)