Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd are very pleased to announce the twelfth winner of the internationally renowned Zurich Art Prize: In 2019, this art award goes to Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes. The prize sum of CHF 100,000 consists of a CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv and CHF 20,000 in prize money.
The Leonor Antunes exhibition will be held between 31 October 2019 and 12 January 2020.
Leonor Antunes (b. 1972 in Lisbon, lives and works in Berlin) is known for her large-scale installations, in which she refers to themes and artists from the domains of 20th-century architecture, design and art. After studying stage design at Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema in Lisbon, she studied fine arts at Universidade de Lisboa and the State Academy of Fine Arts Karlsruhe.
In her art-historical research, Antunes focuses on individual details of works by (mostly female) artists, and combines them in unexpected ways to form new objects, sculptures and installations. Her role models include, for example, Irish designer and architect Eileen Gray (1878–1976) and Italian-born Brazilian architect Lina Bo Bardi (1914–1992). This artist selects architectural details or parts of furnishings and objects, which she then duplicates, enlarges, reduces and transforms for her own interpretations. All the while, the works’ historical context, design and manner of production are just as important to her as the previous social role of these art and design objects. Antunes describes the artistic process as taking place on multiple levels, and also as sculptural – to the extent that it offers the possibility of subtraction and addition.
The jury was particularly enthusiastic about Leonor Antunes’s site-specific concepts, which refer back to the forms and motifs of modernism and convincingly translate them in sculptural and installational ways. In being awarded to Antunes, the prize honors an outstanding contemporary artist whose oeuvre establishes a link with the histories of 20th-century architecture, design and art.
2019 Antunes will represent Portugal at the Venice Biennale.
Leonor Antunes can look back on numerous solo exhibitions, for instance at the following renowned institutions: Pirelli HangarBicocca, Milan (2018); Whitechapel Gallery, London (2017); Tensta konsthall, Stockholm (2017); San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2016); CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux (2015); New Museum, New York (2015); KIOSK, Ghent (2015); Pérez Art Museum Miami (2014); Kunsthalle Lissabon, Lisbon (2013); Kunsthalle Basel (2013); Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf (2012); Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto (2011); Museo Experimental El Eco, Mexico City (2011); Museo Nacional de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2011).
The artist’s most important group exhibitions include: Condemned To Be Modern, Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (LAMAG) (2017); Ficciones y territorios: Arte para pensar la nueva razón del mundo, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2016); Slip of the Tongue, Punta della Dogana, Venice (2015); Beyond the Supersquare, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, New York (2014).
In addition, Antunes has already taken part in several biennials, such as: 59th Biennale di Venezia (2019); 57th Biennale di Venezia (2017); Sharjah Biennial 12 (2015); 8th Berlin Biennale (2014); Singapore Biennale 2011; Bienal de Arte Contemporânea da Maia (1999 and 2003).