Marguerite Humeau
RIDDLES (Final Beats)

Zurich Art Prize 2017

26 October 2017 to 14 January 2018

Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd are pleased to declare Marguerite Humeau the winner of this year’s Zurich Art Prize and to announce a change on the occasion of this internationally renowned award’s tenth edition: as of 2017, in addition to the previous sum of CHF 80’000, which is always used for a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, the winner receives another CHF 20’000 in prize money.
Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986 in Cholet, France, lives in London) has become known in recent years for her large-format installations, seemingly organic and creatural sculptures. When conceptualizing her works, Humeau often takes prehistoric events, scientific theories and occult notions as a starting point.

The exhibition RIDDLES (Final Beats) at Museum Haus Konstruktiv belongs to a larger complex of works, also called RIDDLES, parts of which have already been exhibited in New York (C L E A R I N G New York/Brussels), Berlin (Schinkel Pavillon) and Versailles (Bosquet de l'Arc de Triomphe, Château de Versailles). The figure at the center of all RIDDLES exhibitions is that of the sphinx, a human-animal composite being, the beginnings of which date all the way back to the early history of humanity. In both Egyptian and Greek mythology, a protective function is attributed to the sphinx: the ability to guard humanity against potential enemies. In ancient Greece, it would also decide on life or death according to whether a riddle was answered correctly or incorrectly. Marguerite Humeau bridges the gap between past and present, hypothesizing that today’s surveillance systems, drones for instance, are directly descended from the ancient figure of the sphinx.

The jury chose Marguerite Humeau as the prize winner because her works formulate an independent position characterized by scientific curiosity and precision, while also sharing parallels with the scientific basis of constructivist-concrete art.


Marguerite Humeau’s most important exhibitions, alongside the solo shows at Schinkel Pavillon in Berlin (2017), Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2016) and at Nottingham Contemporary (2016/17), include her involvement in exhibitions at Château de Versailles (2017), the Seoul Biennale (2016), at Manifesta 11 in Zurich (2016) and at the following institutions: TBA 21 Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary – Augarten, Vienna (2015), Serpentine Gallery, London (2014), Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2014), Hayward Gallery, London (2014), MoMA, New York (2014), Nottingham Contemporary, De La Warr Pavilion (2013) and Barbican Art Gallery, London (2011). 


For the exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv

Scenography and Design: Marguerite Humeau in precious collaboration with Juliette Rambaud for Studio Marguerite Humeau
3D Modeling Sphinx Otto: Le Studio Humain
Sound Design: Pierre Lanchantin
Sound and Light Choreography: Raphael Zehnder for Mediaton
Pattern Design Digital Desert and Monument for Humankind: Camille Thiéry
Production Monument for Humankind: Vladimir Boson

Special thanks to Oliver Meier, Technical Manager Museum Haus Konstruktiv


The Zurich Art Prize is a cultural engagement
by Zurich Insurance Group Ltd:



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Nov 20, 2017
12:15:00 PM CET