The Wolfgang Hahn Prize, one of the world’s biggest art awards, has this year gone to Anna Boghiguian, an artist whose work has been seen widely on the biennial circuit. She will now take home 100,000 euros (about $106,000) and will see her work acquired by Cologne’s Museum Ludwig, which facilitates the award.
Boghiguian, who was born in Egypt and is of Armenian origins, is well-known for work that mines various historical happenings for political meaning, taking up subjects such as the salt trade and Virginia Woolf’s writing. Her work frequently takes the form of vast installations composed of painted figures that are arranged to fill rooms.
In recent years, Boghiguian has risen to international fame thanks to her appearance in many notable biennials. After showing at the 2012 edition of Documenta, she won the Golden Lion for her Armenian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.
Carolyn Christov-Bakargiev, a jury member for the prize who curated Boghiguian’s work into her editions of Documenta and the Istanbul Biennial, said in a statement, “Her work’s poetry and uniqueness as well as her directness and expressivity fit ideally into the Museum Ludwig’s collection with its strong expressionist positions. Anna Boghiguian has been widely recognized internationally only recently, over the last ten years, so that this award is for a highly topical artist, rather than for a lifetime achievement. She is totally contemporary in her themes and in the connections she draws through her readings, travels and internet searches, between historical stories and political and aesthetic discussions of our present world.”
Next month, Boghiguian will be the subject of a solo show at the Power Plant in Toronto, where she is set to show recent works dealing with the concept of democracy as well as older books made while she lived in cities in Canada.