The PIAC – International Contemporary Art Prize, is awarded every three years for a recent work by an artist. Established in 1965, PIAC has been organised by The Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco since 1983. In recent years, the Prize has been awarded to artists of international repute, each nominated by a leading art world professional. The winner is awarded a sum of €75,000, including the funding for the production of a new work.
The three pieces are Tree Identification for Beginners (2017) by Yto Barrada, which was nominated by the Whitney Museum’s curator of performance, Adrienne Edwards;Love Is the Message, The Message Is Death (2016) by Arthur Jafa, nominated by South-African curator Tumelo Mosaka; and FRAGMENTS (2016–ongoing) by Rayyane Tabet, which was nominated by the director of GAMeC in Bergamo, Italy, Lorenzo Giusti.
Tree Identification for Beginners by Yto Barrada, a complex film installation comprising a hand-dyed and sewn curtain. In the turbulent summer of 1966, Yto Barrada’s mother, a 23-year-old Moroccan student, was one of 50 “Young African Leaders” invited on a State Department–sponsored tour of the USA. Through play, poetry, and humour, the film Tree Identification for Beginners examines this stage-managed encounter between North America and Africa, and the nascent spirit of disobedience—the Pan-African, Tricontinental, Black Power, and anti-Vietnam war movements—which would come to define a generation. When the artist premiered the work in New York, during Performa 17, she performed the soundtrack live.
Arthur Jafa’sLove Is the Message. The Message Is Death “traces the representation of Black identity through a spectrum of largely popular images. From violent protests against police brutality in the United States, to bodies celebrating on streets as a testament about media representations of blackness. This work captures how black existence has endured attempts of injustice and exclusion. For Jafa, this work has been a process of working through and sometimes beyond existing imaginary tropes drawn from multiple sources from print to media. It offers a mosaic of black culture under threat.”, in the words of the artist.
FRAGMENTS by Rayyane Tabet was initiated in 2016 and evolved through multiple presentations around the world. It centres on Max von Oppenheim’s archaeological excavation of Tell Halaf and the subsequent destructions of many of its findings. “In 1929 Tabet’s great-grandfather, Faik Borkhoche, was appointed by the governing authorities of the French Mandate stationed in Beirut as von Oppenheim’s secretary, to gather information on the excavations the latter was conducting in the village of Tell Halaf in Syria. This encounter leads Tabet to uncover a story that connects his family to major historical figures. He raises questions on the survival of heirlooms, the preservation of historical artifacts, cultural appropriation, museological practices, and migration patterns.”
In addition to the shortlisted artworks, the Fondation Prince Pierre presents the new Jury members for the 47th edition of the award and a new selection process for the nominators. The new Jury comprises:
Kader Attia, Artist and Founding Director of La Colonie Ilaria Bonacossa, Director or Artissima Reem Fadda, Curator, Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi Candice Hopkins, Senior Curator, Toronto Biennial of Art Isaac Julien, Artist and Filmmaker
For this edition of the prize, each new Jury member suggested the name of five nominators who were requested to indicate what they felt to be the most accomplished and important artwork produced over the two years prior the prize. This shortlist of three works originates from the 25 nominations received. The winner of the 47th PIAC will be then selected by the Jury and awarded during a ceremony in Monte Carlo on October 15, 2019.