The shortlisted artists for the Vincent Award for European contemporary art are now showing their work at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague
An exhibition of work by the five artists shortlisted for the biennial Vincent Award opened in The Hague last month. The prize, founded in 2000, is given to a mid-career artist whose work is “appreciably influencing the development of contemporary art in Europe”.
Anri Sala presented two films that feature disjointed renditions of the 1982 song Should I Stay or Should I Go by The Clash, played on a barrow organ and a music box. The first film is set in an abandoned former concert venue on the outskirts of Bordeaux. “The building holds a lot of memories and, with the two instruments playing the tune, I thought of it as a bit like two different ways of remembering the same thing,” Sala says.
In the second, individuals play fragments of the song in random order at Tlatelolco Square in Mexico City, the site of the last big war between the Aztecs and the Spanish and of the 1968 student shootings before the city’s Olympic games. The square contains the remnants of an Aztec temple and is overlooked by a church built from the ruins and modernist housing developments.
“The ruptures in the music relate to the fragmented environment and its ruptured history,” Sala says. In the final 3 minutes, the footage is reordered to play the song in its correct form, leaving viewers with a sense of optimism. “In the end, the music finds its continuity.”
Dutch artist Willem de Rooij took inspiration from the Gemeentemuseum’s large Mondrian collection, incorporating one of the painter’s early works into his installation, Ilulissat. In a dark room, Lighthouse at Westkapelle is slowly illuminated while a chorus of Greenland dogs howl and bark in the background. “The call of the dogs in Greenland serves the same purpose as the lighthouse – to guide people,” de Rooij explains.
British Turner prize-winner Gillian Wearing, French artist Pierre Huyghe and Manfred Pernice from Germany are the other shortlisted artists.
Wearing presented images of herself posing as American photographers Diane Arbus and Robert Mapplethorpe, as well as her 2010 film Bully. Huyghe showed A Way In Untilled (2012), which uses natural motifs and living creatures – a feature of his recent work. Manfred Pernice presented an installation of construction materials and photographs.
A jury led by the Gemeentemuseum director Benno Tempel chose the five finalists after a two-day judging process. The winner will be announced at a ceremony on 21 November and the exhibition will run until February 2015.
Update: Anri Sala was announced as the winner of the Vincent Award for contemporary art on 21 November 2014