Monia Ben Hamouda receives the Vordemberge-Gildewart Award on the occasion of the exhibition RENAISSANCE

Monia Ben Hamouda, winner of the VG Award 2024 Photo credits: Luca Guadagnini

60,000 Swiss francs from the Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation to finance her work.

Museion, the museum of modern and contemporary art in Bolzano, is delighted to announce that Monia Ben Hamouda is the winner of the prestigious VG Award of 60,000 CHF presented by the Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation. The prize is awarded annually by the Foundation, based in Rapperswil, Switzerland, in collaboration with a European exhibition institution to an artist of up to 35 years of age from the selected region. Museion was chosen as the partner for 2024, and the 15 artists in the RENAISSANCE exhibition formed the basis for the selection of the winner by an independent international jury.

On 22 March, shortly after the public opening of the RENAISSANCE exhibition, the winner was announced, chosen on the same day by an international jury who saw the works of the artists, selected by Museion curator Leonie Radine, for the first time.

Bart van der Heide (Musieon Director), Leonie Radine (curator Museion); Monia Ben Hamouda (artist); Isabelle Krieg (president jury VG Award and artist); Dr. Linus Bruhin, President Stiftung Vordemberge-Gildewart Photo credits: Luca Guadagnini

With the following words, the jury awarded the prize to Monia Ben Hamouda, in the exhibition RENAISSANCE with the series Aniconism as Figuration Urgency (2021-):

“Monia Ben Hamouda’s works immediately unleash a sensory power. The jury was impressed by the compositional balance with which the artist manages to make colours, shapes, smells and light interact coherently. Large sculptures made of laser-cut iron filigree hang from the ceiling. They display Arabic-style calligraphic characters, among which figurative elements such as owls and hands appear. Below them, a gestural landscape of spices unfolds in intense, earthy colours that fill the room with their fragrance. At the same time, the shadows of the hanging iron sculptures echo on the wall.

It is fascinating how Monia Ben Hamouda honours the tradition of Arabic calligraphy in her works and at the same time gives form to the urgency of figurative expression, despite the Islamic ban on figurative representation. The spice carpet, which seems to have been created by spontaneous gestures, as well as the hands depicted in the hanging iron sculpture, speak of an act of liberation by which the artist transfers her cultural heritage into the here and now.

The jury was impressed by the installation as a whole, which is extremely captivating and poetic, and by its depth of content, which tells of a migratory past. The way Monia Ben Hamouda translates the complex subject into a loving gesture, which radiates both determination and strength, seems to us to point the way to an intercultural dialogue conducted with openness and mutual respect.”

The Vordemberge-Gildewart Foundation started its activities in 1981 thanks to the last will and testament of Ilse Engelina Vordemberge, born Leda, 1906-1981, widow of the artist Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart, known as VG. In 1977, Ilse Leda decreed that every year an artist aged 35 or under from a European country should receive a grant “to live and work for one year without any support”. Since 1983, the Foundation has been awarding the VG AWARD through an exhibition and a catalogue presenting all the selected young artists and the winner of the prize by an international jury.

The prestigious jury consists of seven members, who for 2024 are: Isabelle Krieg, jury president and artist, Kreuzlingen (CH); Dr. Arta Valstar-Verhoff, curator and author, Bonn (D); Dr. Roman Zieglgänsberger, Museum Wiesbaden, Wiesbaden (D); Max Mayer, gallerist, Düsseldorf (D); Alexandra Blättler, curator of the collection at the Kunstmuseum Lucerne (CH); Nina Fellmann, Director at Annely Juda Fine Art, London (GB); Deborah Keller, editor-in-chief ‘Kunstbulletin’, Zurich (CH).

The first Museion Private Founders Award and the Audience Award will also be presented on the occasion of the exhibition. Both prizes are linked to acquisitions for Museion’s collection.

Participating artists:

AliPaloma, Monia Ben Hamouda, Costanza Candeloro, Filippo Contatore, Isabella Costabile, Binta Diaw, Giorgia Garzilli, Sophie Lazari, Lorenza Longhi, Magdalena Mitterhofer, Jim C. Nedd, Luca Piscopo, Raphael Pohl, Davide Stucchi, Tobias Tavella

Monia Ben Hamouda

Monia Ben Hamouda graduated from the Brera Academy of Fine Arts, Milan. In 2023 her works were exhibited at Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna; at Frac Bretagne, Rennes; at MACRO - Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome; at La Casa Encendida, Madrid; and at ChertLüdde, Berlin. She is one of the finalists for the MAXXI BVLGARI PRIZE 2024. She was also awarded the Pollock-Krasner Foundation prize, the DucatoPrize (special mention), and received a grant from the Ministry of Culture under the Italian Council for Contemporary Art. In 2024 her works are on display at MAXXI - Museo nazionale delle arti del XXI secolo, Rome; Mudec Museo delle Culture, Milan; and Istituto Svizzero, Milan.

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