Arnold-Bode-Prize of documenta-City Kassel goes to Hiwa K

The Arnold-Bode-Prize 2016 of documenta-City Kassel goes to Hiwa K, who was born in Iraq in 1975, and lives in Berlin.
Jun 2016

This year’s Arnold–Bode-Prize of the documenta-City Kassel goes to Hiwa K.

Hiwa K was born in northern Iraq in 1975 and today lives in Berlin.
In his artistic practice, Hiwa K challenges the usual categories and mechanisms according to which the art world operates. He exercises institutional critique, unswervingly questions genre boundaries and thus his own artistic position. His works thematicize oral tradition as well as unusual narrative forms of relating historical events, social injustice, and formal academic systems versus democratic dissemination of knowledge.
Lord Mayor Bertram Hilgen announced the decision in the municipal press service after the magistrate as chairman of the Arnold-Bode-Stiftung had previously selected the recipient of the prize on the recommendation of the board of trustees.

The prize will presented at Kasseler Kunstverein on Thursday, November 3, 2016.

The artist
Hiwa K graduated from secondary school in Iraq and continued his education in the self-educational circles of his home country with other visual artists, intellectuals, musicians, and theater artists. The major fields of these informal and non-systematic studies were European literature and philosophy, learned from available books translated into Arabic. Since 1985, he has practiced painting—also in public space. He abandoned the discipline around 1998 and completed flamenco guitar studies with the master Paco Peña, which led to his working for several years in that field. Subsequently, he returned to visual arts after six years of working as a professional guitarist. His experience as a musician has a strong influence on his visual-arts projects.
His projects appear to be a continuous critique of art education, the professionalization of art practice, of staging and visibility, as well as the myth of the individual artist. Many of his works are forms and outcomes of collaborations and have to do with the process of teaching and learning and insist on acquiring knowledge as an everyday practice rather than knowledge as a formalized discipline.

Immediacy and improvisations are the striking features of his works, which escape normative aesthetics and give vernacular forms, oral histories, modes of encounter, and political situations a different vibration. The repository of his references are stories told by family members and friends, found situations, as well as everyday forms that are the product of pragmatics and necessity.

The board of trustees of the Arnold Bode Award are currently: Prof. Heiner Georgsdorf (chairman), E. R. Nele, Born Bode, Dr. Klaus Lukas, and the Artistic Director of documenta 14, Adam Szymczyk. The Honorary Chairman of the board is Prof. Karl-Oskar Blase.

List of previous award winners
1980 Hannsjörg Voth
1981 Mario Merz
1982 Gerhard Richter
1983 Gerhard Merz
1984 Walter Pichler
1985 Ulrich Rückriem
1986 Rebecca Horn
1987 Wolfgang Laib
1988 Edward Kienholz
1990 Thomas Schütte
1992 Reiner Ruthenbeck
1994 Olaf Metzel
1996 Tony Oursler
1997 Richard Hamilton
1999 Penny Yassour
2001 Stan Douglas
2002 Maria Eichhorn
2004 Maurizio Cattelan
2006 Hans Schabus
2007 Romuald Hazoumé
2009 Urs Lüthi
2011 Goshka Macuga
2012 Thomas Bayrle
2014 Nairy Baghramian
>> Further information

(From press information
Photo: Hiwa K, The Bell. 2014-2015, 56th Venice Biennale 2015
© Photo: Haupt & Binder)

Hiwa K
* 1975 Sulaymaniyah, Kurdistan, Iraq. Lives in Berlin, Germany.

Related Content:

Information and photos of the documenta in Kassel, Germany, and their editions since 1997. Presented by Universes in Universe - Worlds of Art.
8 April - 16 July 2017 in Athens, Greece; 10 June - 17 September 2017 in Kassel, Germany. Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk and curatorial team. Works by approx. 200 participants.
Back to Top