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Mel Chin - Disputed Territories


09.10.10-12.12.10

Museum het Domein, Sittard
museum voor hedendaagse kunst en stedelijke historie & archeologie
museum for contemporary art and urban history & archaeology
Kapittelstraat 6
NL-6130 AE Sittard
Niederlande
info@hetdomein.nl
homepage


Mel Chin - Disputed Territories
Winner Fritschy Culture Prize 2010


Pressetext:

In 2003, the biennial Fritschy Culture Award was established, named after the translator and polyglot Gerard Fritschy (1919-1999), out of whose bequest the MEG Foundation in Sittard-Geleen finances the prize. The prize was originally intended for “visual artists who offer significant contributions to multicultural debate.” Now that such terminology is somewhat out of date, the focus is on artists who give shape to cultural diversity, who make world-citizenship the subject of their art, or who build bridges between different cultures. Originally, the prize was € 5000, along with an exhibition at the Museum Het Domein and an accompanying publication. The first few prizes – named the Fritschy Stadscultuurprijs Sittard-Geleen since 2007-2008 – were awarded to artists from diverse cultural backgrounds living in the Netherlands or Europe: Ni Haifeng, Hadassah Emmerich, and Remy Jungerman. From 2010, the prize money for the Fritschy Culture Award has been increased to € 10,000 through the efforts of Museum Het Domein, with the intention of making the prize more internationally oriented. The jury for this year included: Peter Fransman (director of Museum Het Domein, Sittard), Natascha Bär (art historian and MEG Foundation committee member), Lily van Ginneken (former director of Stroom HCBK, the Hague), Kitty Zijlmans (professor of contemporary art history, University of Leiden), Roel Arkesteijn (curator of contemporary art, Museum Het Domein, Sittard), and Wiel Gielkens (supervisor; chairman of the Fritschy Prize Foundation).
The judges selected from 25 artists who were nominated by a group of advisors attached to various Dutch art institutes and who then responded to the request to send in documentation of their work. In terms of the candidates, the 2010 prize demonstrated a shift to a more international environment: roughly half of the nominated artists live in the Netherlands; the rest live abroad. The judges observed that the artists were of a high quality.
From the list of nominated artists, one conclusive winner emerged: the American artist Mel Chin (Houston, Texas, 1951). For roughly 35 years, Chin has been developing a unique, socially engaged and self-willed body of work in which cultural diversity and global solidarity play an important role. In Europe, his work has not received the recognition that it has in the United States. In his art, Chin gets at the important questions of his time. His works can be characterized as “sculptural witnesses to ecological and political tragedies.” Whether examining American imperialism in Central America, September 11, the fate of the Native American Indians, civil wars in postcolonial Africa, abuse at Guantanamo Bay, the extinction of animal species, or the way in which people pollute their natural resources, Chin creates intelligent and penetrating works with the compactness and impact of aphorism. Every new project he tackles leads to a surprising turn in his work. His project Revival Field, perhaps his most well-known work, has made him one of the most important pioneers of ecological art. With his activist view of art, he seeks the edges of the discipline and creates an arena in which social and (geo)political themes can be coupled with ideas from philosophy, biology, history, religion, anthropology, literature, and alchemy. Chin not only opens up an interdisciplinary discourse and possibilities for change with his work, but he also gives it an exciting form that often appeals to the various senses. The jury praises the unique way in which Chin, in many of his projects, creates a form of art in which participation and other forms of engagement are key. In awarding the Fritschy Culture Award 2010 to Mel Chin, the jury members emphasize the critical engaged nature of this prize and the expression of contemporary global issues.
The award ceremony will be held on Saturday the 13th of November in Museum Het Domein. On Sunday the 14th of November Mel Chin will give a lecture at 15.00 hr.