In its 47th year, the Prix International d’Art Contemporain is one of the art world’s loftiest and richest prizes, and this year goes to US artist Arthur Jafa for his film Love is the Message, The Message is Death. The seven-minute video art piece shows a quick-fire montage of archival and contemporary footage charting African American history to the soundtrack of Kanye West’s Ultralight Beam, from clips of Biggie Smalls rapping on the streets aged 17 to Barack Obama singing Amazing Grace at the memorial for the Charleston mass shooting victims. These images are interspersed with Jafa’s own personal footage, for example, his daughter’s wedding.
The film was nominated for the prize by South African curator Tumelo Mosaka, who commented in a statement that the film “traces the representation of black identity through a spectrum of largely popular images. From violent protests against police brutality in the United States, to bodies celebrating on streets as a testament about media representations of blackness. This work captures how black existence has endured attempts of injustice and exclusion.”
The Prix International d’Art Contemporain was first awarded in 1965, and since 1983 has been run by arts and cultural organisation the Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco. The PIAC is awarded every three years, as the foundation awards annual prizes to literature, music and arts on a three-year cycle.
Winning the prize, says PIAC artistic director Lorenzo Fusi, “positions Arthur Jafa at the forefront of artistic research and experimentation,” citing him as a “contemporary master”. Jafa will develop his new commission over the course of the next two years.
- Andrew Khosravani and Maliboo animate Moon Panda's atmospheric music video
- Lights, sparkles and colour: Photographer Riccardo Apostolic draws from the plush era of the 80s
- What Myriam Boulous’ shots of the Lebanese revolution tell us about photojournalistic ethics
- Kinky, kooky characters take centre stage in Isaac Mann’s paintings
- DEMO Festival swaps advertising for the work of talented motion designers
- Cristóbal Schmal cuts and pastes ancient Andean stories into his colourful collages
- Pentagram rebrands Warner Bros. with a “sleek and clean” update to its shield logo
- Manchester Girls, the new series from Dean Davies, is a visual homage to the women of the north
- Relive the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer through Summer of Something Special
- Viktor Hübner photographs American anxieties amongst a shifting political environment
- Jiří Makovec’s photographs meander between the personal and the universal
- Berlin Wall graffiti is made into a typeface to warn how "division is freedom's biggest threat"