Cyprien Gaillard’s won the 2011 Publikumspreis (people’s choice prize) for his work, Artefact (2011) in the Nationalgalerie’s Young Art Prize exhibition at the Hamburgerbahnhof on Sunday night, beating the three other finalists Klara Lidén, Andro Wekua, and Kitty Kraus.
The prize was determined through a series of surveys throughout the exhibition where visitors were to evaluate the works. Artefact, a film first shot on the artist’s iPhone and later transferred to 35mm, runs in a loop uninterrupted as it traces the ancient city of Babylon (now in Iraq) with a snippet of David Grey’s song ‘Babylon’ as the score.
The jury explained its choice in these words: “Cyprien Gaillard’s film Artefact is an impressive reflection on the myth of Babylon, which undergoes a special updating through the reference to the war in Iraq. The powerful, captivating images are deliberately spliced into each other so as to create a hyper-nervous, almost hypnotic effect that directs our attention to our own cultural sensitivities”.
As the Goethe Insitut stated, “If there is an artistic trophy in Germany comparable to the equally famous and continually controversial Turner Prize, then it is the biannually awarded Prize of the National Gallery for Young Art”. Past prize winners are Dirk Skreber, Elmgreen & Dragset, Monica Bonvicini, Ceal Floyer and Omer Fast while other art greats such as Tino Sehgal, John Bock, Angela Bulloch, Daniel Richter and Olafur Eliasson were once on the shortlist.