It’s the knighting ceremony of the contemporary art world—like the Oscars for cinema—only the golden statuette to be placed upon mantels bares the shape of a lion’s silhouette. Coined “the Venice Effect,” bringing home a lion from the Biennale brings immediate legitimacy to an artist’s work—think Jasper Johns in ’88, Marina Abramovic in ’97, or Thomas Schütte in 2005, all of whose careers hit the ground running and have yet to slow. This weekend, at the Awards Ceremony of the 55th International Art Exhibition, the stars of the Biennale were announced to a crowd eager for a verdict that escapes only every second year.
So who took home the gold? Best in show went to British-born, Berlin-based artist Tino Sehgal (who is also one of four nominees for this year’s prestigious Turner Prize); and who, according to the jury, stole the show with “the excellence and innovation that his practice has brought opening the field of artistic disciplines.” (Watch Sehgal receive his award, at right.) Deemed the most promising artist, Paris-based Camille Henrot brought home a shining Silver Lion for her video on the taxonomic history of the universe.
Other honors were given to Angola with a Golden Lion for Best National Participation (watch their video interview, at right); special mentions to Lithuania, Cyprus, and Japan; and of course, the Golden Lions for Lifetime Achievement bestowed upon Marisa Merz and Maria Lassnig by director Massimiliano Gioni.
Images: Tino Sehgal receiving the Golden Lion for best artist; Camille Henrot receiving the Silver Lion for a promising young artist; Marisa Merz receiving a Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement; Angola Pavilion awarded a Golden Lion for best national participation.
Photos by Italo Rondinella courtesy of la Biennale di Venezia 2013.