In honor of the announcement of the 2016 Hugo Boss Prize shortlist, get to know the talented artists who are potential winners of the award.
Tania Bruguera’s work focuses on political statements and social commentary. Her visceral works have involved holding a gun to her head as well as participating in one minute of free speech. One of her pieces was based around police crowd control techniques. In 2014, Bruguera was detained by the Cuban government before she was set to give a performance titled #YoTambienExijo.
Mark Leckey has had a diverse career. His work in installation, video and found footage have set him apart as an artist. Through the use of video, he creates contrasting worlds that seem to be haphazardly thrown together, resulting in unorthodox creations. His installation work typically involves a backdrop as part of the art, and often focuses on single colors. He has recently developed a fixation on Felix the Cat, featuring him frequently in his artworks.
Ralph Lemon is a choreographer and installation artist. As a dancer he has been incredibly successful, with numerous accolades and awards under his belt, including a Guggenheim fellowship and an American Choreographers Award. Lemon choreographs pieces that reflect on the social and political climate of the time period. His choreographies and performances are emotional works that use the body fully, managing to provoke a feeling from deep within.
Laura Owens is a painter who creates large-scale works that defy convention. Her works may appear relatively simple at first glance, but closer inspection actually reveals them to be filled with layers. Owens is known for mixing contrasting patterns in her work and her ability to give dimensional qualities to flat pieces.
Wael Shawky is an Egyptian artist who, through the use of video, performance, and installation, focuses on times past. His recent work has included staging a puppet show that recounts the Crusades from an Arab standpoint. But his puppets aren’t your run of the mill corner store buys; rather, they are extremely expressive, diverse marionettes that cause you to question what exactly you’re looking at.
Anicka Yi’s work focuses on the senses. Beyond creating visually stimulating pieces, Yi wants a more immersive experience for her audience, often utilizing scent and touch in her art. Her titillation of these senses are sometimes more mental than physical – though scent can’t be isolated, touch is a more restricted action in the art world, with it often being forbidden. Yi often uses perishable items in her work, which have in the past included lamb heart, to represent the fleeting temporality of every moment.