Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller named the winners of the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize presented by the City of Duisburg and the Rhineland Regional Council
The City of Duisburg, the Rhineland Regional Council and the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum are delighted to announce that a jury of international experts has chosen Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller as winners of the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize 2020, which is presented by the City of Duisburg and the Rhineland Regional Council (Landschaftsverband Rheinland – LVR). The Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize, which is one of the most prestigious accolades for sculpture worldwide, honors Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller for their life’s work, which has opened up new dimensions in sculpture in the 20th and 21st centuries.
Following on from Rebecca Horn (2017), Reiner Ruthenbeck (2006), Nam June Paik (2001), Richard Long (1996), Richard Serra (1991), Joseph Beuys (1986), Claes Oldenburg (1981), Jean Tinguely (1976), Norbert Kricke (1971) and Eduardo Chillida (1966), in 2020 the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize goes to artist couple Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, who divide their time between Berlin and Grindrod, Canada. The award ceremony will take place on September 20, 2020, at the Lehmbruck Museum, while an exhibition of their works will open in November 2021 and will run until April 2022.
The jury, which was chaired by Rein Wolfs, paid tribute to Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller as “artists who have shaped an entire genre through their multimedia work. With their sound spaces and captivating stories, they have earned their place in the collective consciousness of an international public. Their spatial works touch on genres as diverse as theater, cinema, music, sound art and audio drama and draw us into a space that we experience with all our senses. We were particularly impressed,” the jury’s chairman continued, “by the way Cardiff and Miller not only work for museums, but also extend their impact out into the public spaces of towns and cities with their atmospheric audio walks and thus push boundaries and break down barriers.”
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are extremely honored to receive the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize 2020: “We are thrilled to receive this award and are excited to be honored alongside so many artists whom we have revered over the years.”
The fact that the internationally renowned Willhelm Lehmbruck Prize is now being awarded again only three years after the last award is thanks to the generous support of the Rhineland Regional Council (LVR), which provides prize money amounting to 10,000 euros. The Council also funds the accompanying special exhibition in the Lehmbruck Museum, which is dedicated to the work of the prizewinner. In future the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize, which was first awarded back in 1966 to mark what would have been Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s 85th birthday, will be presented every five years again.
“I am delighted that the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize can now be presented regularly again to honor contemporary artists and thus commemorate the work of the great Duisburg sculptor Wilhelm Lehmbruck,” said Lord Mayor Sören Link, who is also chairman of the board of trustees for the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum.
“We are extremely grateful to the Rhineland Regional Council for the funding that made it possible to present the internationally renowned Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize again this year, three years after it was presented to Rebecca Horn,” said Duisburg’s Head of Cultural Affairs Thomas Krützberg. “The new name for the prize promises a lasting cultural partnership with the LVR, which we’re delighted about.”
Milena Karabaic, the LVR’s Head of Cultural Affairs and a member of the international jury, reaffirmed the Rhineland Regional Council’s commitment: “Alongside support for regionally significant exhibition concepts, I see the objective of our involvement as supporting convincing, widely resonating cultural highlights that demonstrate the excellent artistic renown of the Rhineland beyond federal state borders. The work of the Lehmbruck Museum combines innovation and excellence, so we are convinced that with the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize from the City of Duisburg and the Rhineland Regional Council we are contributing to a creative and future-oriented vision for the art landscape of North Rhine-Westphalia.”
For Dr. Söke Dinkla, Director of the Lehmbruck Museum, it is “a huge honor and a pleasure to present the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize to an internationally renowned artist couple for the first time this year. With their work, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller open up new perspectives for the sculpture of the 21st century. They create evocative spaces that are incomparable in their intensity. The feeling of sounds, the almost ghostly presence of the intangible, creates a physical presence that allows a new idea of sculpture to develop.”
Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum, the City of Duisburg and the Rhineland Regional Council would like to thank the Friends of the Lehmbruck Museum as well as Dr. Otmar Franz, Mr. Paul Köser, Ms. Ursula Göbel and Dr. Reimund Göbel, along with all the supporters who wish to remain anonymous, for the ongoing and passionate support with which they have facilitated the presentation of the prize once again.
The jury for the presentation of the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize at the Lehmbruck Museum by the City of Duisburg and the Rhineland Regional Council includes, alongside the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum’s director Dr. Söke Dinkla: Catherine Chevillot, Director of the Musée Rodin (Paris); Dr. Lynette Roth, Curator of the Busch Reisinger Museum, Harvard Art Museums (Cambridge); Milena Karabaic, Head of Cultural Affairs and Regional Culture Conservation at Rhineland Regional Council; Thomas Krützberg, Head of Cultural Affairs for the City of Duisburg and member of the board of trustees for the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum; Michael Rademacher-Dubbick, member of the board of trustees for the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum; Udo Vohl, city councilor and chairman of the culture committee for the City of Duisburg and likewise a member of the board of trustees for the Stiftung Wilhelm Lehmbruck Museum; and Rein Wolfs, Director of the Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam), who holds the position of chairman.
Janet Cardiff, who was born 1957 in Brussels, Canada, has been working with her husband George Bures Miller, born 1960 in Vegreville, Canada, since the 1990s. They have gained international fame most significantly for their penetrating sound installations like the pioneering work Forest (for a thousand years…), which was on show in a forest clearing at documenta 13 in Kassel in 2012. Cardiff and Miller have staged solo exhibitions at venues including the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art, Kanazawa, Japan (2017/18), the Switch House at the Tate Modern, London, UK (2017), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, USA (2015/16), the Haus der Kunst, Munich (2012) and the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2009).
Photo in header: Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Forest (for a thousand years...), 2012, installation view at documenta 13 in Kassel