Hans-and-Lea-Grundig-Award Winner 2019

The Hans-and-Lea-Grund-Prize 2019 under the patronage of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation will be awarded to the Berlin-based artist Dorit Bearach, to the Zurich-based photographer Christoph Oeschger, to Ana Kutleša, Ivana Hanaček and Vesna Vuković from the collective BLOK (Zagreb), as well as to the art historian and exhibition curator Guy Raz (Tel Aviv), as the jury decided after intense discussion in a two-day meeting on May 22 and 23, 2019.

The Hans-und-Lea-Grundig 2019 prizes will be awarded on November 7, 2019 at the Munich Documentation Center for the History of National Socialism. More information will be released soon.

Honorable mentions by the jury are the submissions in the field of fine arts by Martin Barzilai, Sonja Hamad, and Fides Schopp, as well as the submission of Rachel E. Perry in the field of art history / art education. Paul Greven (born 1934) deserves special mention for his sculpture park and museum Kunsthof Greven in the Eifel.

The works created in the museum barn to a large extent by him and the sculptural works in the landscape park are devoted to socio-political topics at an aesthetically considerable level. The diverse commitment of the artist includes the appreciation of peasant work in this barren region as well as the help for refugees. The farm of the Greven family is a Gesamtkunstwerk and an open meeting place at the same time.

Dorit Bearach – Prize Winner in the category “Fine Arts” for her oeuvre
Born in Tel Aviv in 1958, Dorit Bearach studied at the Dresden Academy of Fine Arts and has been living in Germany since 1979. Her imagery feeds on the long tradition of Dresden’s painting history as well as on the landscape and culture of her origin. The artist aims to create spaces of thought out of spaces of color. Her seemingly fragile images, which radiate from the depths of their stratification, reflect the two worlds of her biography, embody yearning and loss, and seek to grasp the present through memory. Her intensive study of the Hebrew and German language has shaped the form, color and style of her paintings, whose themes are personal as well as socio-political. Pain, irony and cynicism, arrival, fleetingness and perseverance are the mental spaces she seems to articulate and explore in her paintings, guided by Adorno’s words that art is magic, „freed from the lie of being the truth.“

Christoph Oeschger – Prize Winner in the category “Fine Arts” for his work They’ve Made Us Ghosts (2017)
They’ve Made Us Ghosts is the title of the photographic work of the artist Christoph Oeschgers (b. 1984 in Zurich), which is awarded this year’s Hans und Lea Grundig Prize in the field of Fine Arts. A few months before the evacuation of the informal refugee camp in Calais, Oeschger began to photograph the situation of the refugees. His photographs and portraits are juxtaposed with images of French border guards, surveillance cameras and security architectures in order to embed the people, the events and the militarily transformed landscape concretely in political power structures and relationships. His concern is to make border regimes and their repressive mechanisms visible in their complexity and to critically question the role of photographic image production and its structural conditions. With his complex photographic works, in which he repeatedly deals with the political dimensions of architecture and space, Christoph Oeschger has repeatedly been involved in international projects and exhibitions in recent years. With the jury’s decision and the awarding of the Hans and Lea Grundig Prize, the jury explicitly encourages the artist to pursue his chosen path.

Ana Kutleša and Vesna Vuković of the collective BLOK (Zagreb) — Prize Winner in the category «Art Eduction /Art History» for the research and exhibition project The Art of the Collective – Case Zemlja (2016)
Ana Kutleša and Vesna Vuković are members of the curatorial collective BLOK, which is mainly active in Zagreb, in the field of socially engaged art and art education. They received the prize for their project Zemlja. It deals with the same-named heterogeneous and left-leaning artists‘ association that emerged within the Croatian art scene at the beginning of 1929. Its leading ideologue was Krsto Hegedušić, a patron of naive art. In particular, the naive painter Ivan Generalić became very famous. The jury acknowledges the idea of the project, to examine the members of the artist group, their actions, works and exhibitions with the methods of network analysis to examine, visualize and thereby gain new insights into the position and importance of individual artists as well as insights into which events connected them. Existing art-historical interpretations could be confirmed and new research questions developed.

Guy Raz – Prize Winner in the category «Art Education /Art History» for his research and exhibitions on the history of Palestinian-Israeli photography
Photographer and curator Guy Raz will be awarded the 2019 Hans and Lea Grundig Prize in the category Art Historical Works. As a photographer Raz documented for over thirty years the history of conflict between Israel and Palestine. His images show sensible scenes of the everyday on both sides of the borderlines, the paradoxical spatial fragmentation and militarization of the land and call for the shared humanity of the region. As a curator Raz set about to research and exhibit early photography in Palestine since 1839 to counter its far-reaching transformations with the scenic and cultural reality of the present. He devoted a noteworthy research to women photographers who were forced to flee the national socialist regime in Europe and who struggled to continue their artistic works in British Mandate Palestine. The jury appreciates the art historical research of Guy Raz and supports his efforts to establish an institution devoted to the history of photography of the region and to make it a medium for an exchange between Israeli and Arab artists and photographers.