AICA Germany awards "Artists & Agents" as Exhibition of the Year 2020

HMKV’s exhibition Artists & Agents – Performance Art and Secret Services, in cooperation with the Slavic Department of the University of Zurich, has just been awarded “Exhibition of the Year” 2020 by the German section of The International Association of Art Critics (AICA). This is the third time that the HMKV has been honored by AICA.

In spite of these times of closed exhibitions, the HMKV is happy to receive more pleasant news: the German section of the International Association of Art Critics AICA has just chosen the exhibition Artists & Agents – Performance Art and Secret Services (2019-20) by HMKV Hartware MedienKunstVerein as “Exhibition of the Year” 2020.

Together with the HMKV, awards went to Bauhaus Dessau (“Museum of the Year” 2020) and Brücke-Museum Berlin (“Special Exhibition” 2020). The approximately 200 authors, critics, journalists, and publicists united in the German AICA section present three non-monetary awards each year to museums and for special individually successful art exhibitions.

The exhibition Artists & Agents - Performance Art and Secret Services, which opened on 25 October 2019 in a ceremony attended by many of the participating artists, focuses on the surveillance of performance artists by secret services – and the multi-layered interaction between them. “I am very happy about this award from the German section of AICA. It is a great recognition of our work!”, says HMKV director Dr. Inke Arns.

The extensive research underlying the international group exhibition Artists & Agents was highlighted in the explanation for the choice of award: “Academic research work is very important,” says Inke Arns, “but unfortunately it all too often remains in an academic context. We made research visible and accessible with this exhibition, which also brought together current artistic works on the subject. The outstanding exhibition design by please don't touch from Dortmund and prjktr. [projektor_berlin] has significantly contributed to this.”

Based on the historical archive material from the former GDR and Eastern Europe, the goal of the exhibition curators was to raise the awareness of the visitors to current topics and issues. “The files, in which the work of the intelligence agents materializes, became a point of departure and condensation for something that is otherwise difficult to grasp, especially in the age of digital communication,” says Inke Arns.

The exhibition is the result of a collaboration with the University of Zurich: with Sylvia Sasse, Professor of Slavic Studies at the University of Zurich, and with Kata Krasznahorkai, who researched the secret service archives of many countries as part of a research project on performance art in Eastern Europe at the University of Zurich.

An earlier collaboration between Sylvia Sasse and Inke Arns has also resulted in an award: for The Storming of the Winter Palace – Forensics of an Image (2017), the curators, together with Igor Chubarov, received the “Justus Bier Prize for Curators” 2018/19.

The AICA award for Artists & Agents is the third won by an HMKV exhibition: in 2003, games. Computer games by artists and in 2012 Sounds Like Silence (to 4'33'' by John Cage) were awarded, both in the category “Special Exhibition”.

Image credit: The curators of the exhibition, f. l. t. r. Kata Krasznahorkai, Inke Arns, Sylvia Sasse, in the exhibition "Artist & Agents – Performance Art and Secret Services“, HMKV at the Dortmunder U, 10/26/2019 – 04/19/2020. Photo: HMKV
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