Poster of the exhibition “Francis Alÿs. blueOrange – Prizewinner 2004”

Poster of the exhibition “Francis Alÿs. blueOrange – Prizewinner 2004”

Design: Steenbrink Vormgeving, Berlin


Francis Alÿs

blueOrange Prizewinner 2004

2 September to 18 October 2004

Francis Alÿs awarded the blueOrange 2004

The Belgian artist Francis Alÿs, who was born in 1959 and lives in Mexico City, was awarded the blueOrange 2004 in February of this year. The new art prize, endowed with 77,000 euros and bestowed by the German cooperative banking group Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken, is recognized as an outstanding distinction in Europe.

Francis Alÿs, who in turn nominated the young Mexican artistic group “Tercerunquinto” as promising young stars in the art world and thus provided 7,000 euros of the prize-money to the group, is currently preparing an exhibition in the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin for September 2004. The artist will bring together important aspects of his work in an extensive project. He continues to work in many different fields, moving from drawing, painting and installations to video and sound works – where the loudspeakers act almost like sculptures in the room.

At the same time, Francis Alÿs is not primarily interested objects, but rather in processes. “Sometimes it leads to nothing if you do something,” explains this supplier of ideas, who is a trained engineer and architect, “and then again, something may come from doing nothing.” As concept artist Alÿs is often occupied with public spaces. Sometimes he pushes a block of ice through the city until it has melted. Then again he runs through the streets with a weapon in his hand until the police arrest him. No less unusual, he takes a magnetic dog for a walk which attracts all kinds of scrap metal. Or, as at the Biennale in Venice, he lets beautiful peacocks roam around; they make their way through the self-admiring doings of the art scene and comment on it as only peacocks can do.

According to the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” last year, Francis Alÿs is one of the most unpretentious stars of a new “art of action”.

Germany’s most highly endowed art prize

The art prize awarded by the German Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken is endowed with 77,000 euros prize-money. 7,000 euros of this money is set aside for a promising young artist, who is nominated by the award-winner.

The prize is to be awarded every two years to an outstanding international artist.

The number 7, which often reoccurs in the selection process, can be understood as a play on the endower of the prize, because seven members are needed to found a cooperative, the corporate form of the Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken.

Above and beyond the financial assistance, the blueOrange should serve to create a forum for fruitful discussion. This is our particular concern, says Christopher Pleister, President of the Federal Association of German Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (BVR). “Art means to venture upon the discourse between reality and imagination. To provide room for artistic creativity is a social responsibility that should go beyond the state subsidized domain of art,” adds Pleister to explain the cultural commitment of the cooperative banks.

Organizer: Bundesverband der Deutschen Volksbanken and Raiffeisenbanken (BVR)