Created in 1988 by the Japan Art Association, Japan’s oldest cultural foundation, the Praemium Imperiale is nicknamed the “Nobel Prize for the Arts”. Each winner receives more than 100,000 euros. There are five prizes awarded in disciplines that the Swedish Nobel does not crown: painting, sculpture, architecture, music, theater and cinema. The prize was not awarded in 2020 due to the pandemic. In 2018, the Belgian-French painter Pierre Alechinsky was one of the winners.
Last year, Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei was crowned in the sculpture category, joining a host of previous winners, from James Turrell and Louise Bourgeois, to El Anatsui, Giuseppe Penone, Gormley, and Kapoor.
This year, the prize in the painting category goes to Vija Celmons, born in Riga in 1938, Latvia and who lives in New York. Painter, engraver, and above all hyper realistic virtuoso designer. We were able to admire at the Documenta in Kassel 2017 and at the David Lynch exhibition at the Fondation Cartier in Paris in 2015, his magnificent pencil drawings in grays, of extreme finesse showing the sea, starry skies or canvases spider. A meditative and silent work.
The Tate sun
Olafur Eliasson is crowned in the sculpture category. His gigantic “sun” installed in 2003 in the Turbine Hall of the Tate in London was a triumph. The crowd came to warm up there. As were the successes of his waterfalls installed under the New York bridge and his icebergs placed on the Copenhagen square to warn of global warming. Born in 1967, he grew up in Iceland and lives in Berlin, on the Prenzlauerberg at the head of a real company of nearly a hundred people who invent and produce spectacular installations but always with an ecological resonance, or playing on our sensations. Each of his exhibitions is a journey to the limits of our perceptions and a study of our connections with nature.
Diébédo Francis Kéré received the architecture prize. Born in 1965 in Gando, a town in Burkina Faso, having studied and worked in Germany, he was already, in 2022, the first African to receive the Pritzker Prize, also nicknamed “the Nobel of architecture”. He developed an architecture adapted to Africa.
Wynton Marsalis, American trumpeter and composer, born October 18, 1961 in New Orleans, was chosen in the music category.
Finally, Robert Wilson, born in 1941 in Texas, was chosen in theater-cinema. A protean artist, a director courted throughout the world for opera, theater and dance, he also creates his own stage and pictorial works. He made himself known in 1976 with a show that became “cult”, Einstein on the Beach. A year ago, visitors to the beautiful exhibition dedicated to the Death of Marat at the Museum of Fine Arts in Brussels could admire a video of Robert Wilson having filmed Lady Gaga as Marat dead in her bath! She stood still under a changing and dramatic light while in voiceover she quoted a text by Sade.