November 7, 2019
Awarding of the 4th Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize 2019

Over 70 guests joined for the awarding of the 4th Hans-and-Lea-Grundig Prize 2019 in the three categories of Fine Arts, Art Studies and Art Education in the auditorium of the Munich Documentation Center of the History of National Socialism on Thursday, November 7, 2019. The event was conducted in cooperation with the Munich Documentation Center of the History of National Socialism.

The Berlin-based artist Dorit Bearach and the Zurich-based photographer Christoph Oeschger were honored in the category Visual Arts. Bearach’s artistic oeuvre was honored by Kathleen Krenzlin (Berlin) as an „intensive examination of the Hebrew and German language“, which „shaped the form, color and style of her paintings […] whose themes are personal as well as socio-political“.

Laudator Dr. Eckhart Gillen (Berlin) presented the series They’ve made us Ghosts (2017) by Christoph Oeschger. In this, Oeschger reflects the situation of the refugees in the camp of Calais/France. In his complex photographic works, he juxtaposes photographs and portraits with images of French border guards, surveillance cameras and security architectures in order »to concretely embed people, events and the militarized landscape into political power structures and relationships« as Gillen said.

In the category Art History/Art Education the research and exhibition project The Art of the Collective – Case Zemlja (2016) by the collective BLOK from Zagreb, represented here by the curators Ana Kutleša, Ivana Hanaček and Vesna Vuković, was awarded. In her praise, Luise Schröder (Leipzig), who was represented by Jury Secretary Dr. Oliver Sukrow (Vienna), honored the social claim of the project and its idea „to examine the members of the artist group, their actions, works and exhibitions with the methods of a network analysis, visualize and thereby gain new insights on the position and meaning of the individual artists“.

For his work in the field of Israeli and Palestinian photography history, the curator and photographer Guy Raz (Tel Aviv) was awarded. Prof. Dr. Ines Weizman (Weimar) noted in her laudation on Raz’s work: „As a curator, Raz has earned through a series of research and exhibitions on early photographs of Palestine since 1839, relating these developments to the scenic and cultural reality of the present to set“. The Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Foundation hopes to be with the prize of support for Raz’s efforts to found an institution dedicated to the photography history of the region and to the exchange between Israeli and Arab artists and photographers.

In memory of the anti-fascist Dresden-based artists Hans Grundig (1901–1958) and Lea Grundig (1906–1977), the Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung has awarded the Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize for artistic, art historical and art-promoting achievements endowed with a total of 10,000 €. After 2012, 2015 and 2017 it has been awarded now for the fourth time. It thus continues the prize endowed by Lea Grundig at the University of Greifswald in 1972, but has not been awarded there since 1996.

In 2012, the first Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize went to the art historian Oliver Sukrow, who researched in his master’s thesis at the University of Greifswald the controversial function of Lea Grundig as President of the Association of Visual Artists of the GDR (1964–1970). In 2015, Petersburg-based performance and video artist Olga Jitlina, curator Lith Bahlmann, and cultural journalist Matthias Reichelt (both from Berlin) for the publication Ceija Stojka (1933–2013). Even death was scared of Auschwitz (2014) were honored. Architectural theorist Ines Weizman won the prize for her Second Life Project. Documents of Forgotten Architectures (2014) of the Bauhaus University Weimar. The 3rd Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize 2017 went to the artists Heike Ruschmeyer (Berlin) and the video artist Afraa Batous (Nuremberg) in the category Visual Arts. Rachel Stern (New York) was awarded the prize in the category Art History. The Jewish Museum Vienna and the curators Mag. Andrea Winklbauer and Dr. Sabine Fellner received the prize in the category art-promoting for their exhibition and publication project The Better Half. Jewish Female Artists until 1938 (2016).

The jury of the Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize 2019, which received more than 120 international applications, was under the co-chair of Dr.habil. Rosa von der Schulenburg, head of the art collection of the Academy of the Arts, Berlin and the Berlin-based art historian and curator Dr. Eckhart Gillen. The other jury members were Dr. Thomas Flierl, Kathleen Krenzlin, Katharina Köpping, Luise Schröder, Dr. Angelika Timm and Prof. Dr. Ines Weizman.

The Director of the Munich Documentation Center of the History of National Socialism, Prof. Dr. Mirjam Zadoff, spoke at the opening about the connection of the work of Hans and Lea Grundig to the museum, of whome some works were shown in the very first special exhibition of the museum in 2017, Show the Unspeakable Artists as Warners and Witnesses from 1914–1945. Mrs. Zadoff praised the close cooperation between the Munich Documentation Center of the History of National Socialism and the Hans-und-Lea-Grundig Foundation. Dr. Florian Weis, managing director of the Rosa-Luxemburg-Foundation, welcomed the activities of the Grundig Foundation since 2015 and thanked Dr. Thomas Flierl for his great commitment to the realignment of the award and Dr. Oliver Sukrow as secretary of the jury. Subsequently, Mr. Flierl remembered the story of the Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize since 2015. In his speech, he recalled that the Leipzig version of Hans Grundig’s major work The Victims of Fascism (1946) was shown in Munich in 1947 during the exhibition Artists of the Eastern Zone (1947) that was co-curated by Hans Grundig and Will Grohmann. Finally, Kathleen Krenzlin presented the joint research project of Academy of Arts, Berlin and the Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Foundation. Based on the transcriptions of the citizen scientiest Klaus Leutner from Berlin, Mrs. Krenzlin will edit, comment, and publish the entire correspondence between Hans and Lea Grundig ranging from the mid-1920s to 1958. The first volume of the trilogy is published with support of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

Before the award ceremony, the documentary movie Exodus on the Danube (1998) by Hungarian director Péter Forgács was screened. It shows the flight of Czechoslovak and Austrian Jews to Romania – a route that Lea Grundig also took on her escape to Palestine in 1940. The screening was made possible with the kind support of the Bessarabiendeutschen Verein, whose national chairman Brigitte Bornemann pointed briefly to the genesis of the film and to the significance of the Danube as an transnational migration space of the 20th century. Afterwards Prof. Dr. Mirjam Zadoff, the director of the Munich Documentation Center of the History of National Socialism and Dr. Eckhart Gillen, the co-chair of the jury of the Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Prize discussed the aesthetic and memorial dimensions of the film and suggested further exploration of the film’s aspects.

In 2020, the Hans-und-Lea-Grundig-Foundation will focus on Lea Grundig’s journalistic and cultural activities during her exile in the British Mandatory Palestine. For this purpose, a scientific workshop in Israel and other activities are planned, which will inspire the next prize competition in 2021.