06 / 02 / 2017

The Collection and the Marcel Duchamp Prize: past and present

What do Kader Attia, Julien Prévieux, Laurent Grasso and Mathieu Mercier have in common? The Marcel Duchamp Prize… and the Société Générale Collection! As the contest for the 2017 Marcel Duchamp Prize begins, we pay tribute to the (many) Collection artists who have won this prestigious prize.
Maja Bajević, Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige, Charlotte Moth and Vittorio Santoro. The nominees for the 2017 Marcel Duchamp Prize were announced on February 2nd. For the second year running, the nominees’ works will be collectively exhibited next autumn at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


A coveted prize

Created in 2000 by the ADIAF (association for the international dissemination of French art) to showcase the dynamic French art scene, considered too unassertive at the time, the Marcel Duchamp Prize has served its purpose admirably. Every year, it distinguishes a laureate chosen from four French artists (or artists residing in France) working in the field of the visual arts. The members of the ADIAF selection committee, all avid art collectors, nominate the finalists; then an international jury of experts chooses the winner who is awarded the prestigious title as well as €35,000.

In seventeen years, over seventy artists–winners and nominees–have participated in the Marcel Duchamp Prize. Together, they form a panorama of French contemporary art in all its vitality and diversity, and naturally include many artists from the Collection.


Kader Attia, Julien Prévieux, Laurent Grasso, Mathieu Mercier

Starting with Kader Attia, the current title-holder, awarded the Prize last October for his Réfléchir la mémoire, a powerful labyrinth-like installation which, based on the medical syndrome of the “phantom limb”, reflects a world suffering from atrophy and asks how we can nurse it back to health. Two years earlier, the facetious Julien Prévieux, known for his Lettres de non-motivation, won the award with his video and choreography project entitled What shall we do next? featuring “gestures of the future” related to new technologies and patented by various American companies. Going back even further, to 2008, the prize went to Laurent Grasso who exhibited The Horn Perspective, a retro-futurist installation featuring radio waves, at the Centre Pompidou, while in 2003, Mathieu Mercier invited the public into his life-size Pavillon.


… and all the others

The Collection is also proud of its past nominees: the very first year we experienced the amazing perspectives of painter Felice Varini, and, in the third year, were introduced to image sculptor Wang Du, painter Bernard Frize and photographer Valérie Jouve. In 2003, two photographers, Stéphane Couturier with cities in the throes of change, and Éric Poitevin with endangered populations and places as well as serial painter Pascal Pinaud were nominated alongside Mathieu Mercier. The following year, there were Valérie Belin, Philippe Ramette and the man who paints with an iron, Philippe Cognée. Next, in 2005, Kader Attia faced off with the iconoclastic Gilles Barbier. Then, in 2008, the year Laurent Grasso won the prize, the finalists included master-of-all-trades Stéphane Calais and sculptor- model maker Didier Marcel. The 2012 selection featured the paintings of Valérie Favre, in 2013, those of Farah Atassi, and in 2014, the four-hand paintings by the Quistrebert brothers. Finally, last October, next to Katter Attia’s project at the Centre Pompidou, we could admire the work of Cameroonian artist Barthélémy Toguo and the German Ulla von Brandenburg, new additions to the Collection.


Mark these dates!

The Marcel Duchamp Prize strives to make these artists known throughout France and around the world. This year, the exhibit will travel to Hangar H18 in Brussels, the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing, the Times Museum in Canton and the Fernet-Branca de Saint-Louis Foundation (Alsace, France). A wonderful way to pass the time while waiting for the 2017 nominees to arrive at the Centre Pompidou from October 4, 2017 to January 8, 2018. The prize will be awarded on October 16!



Aurélie Laurière