The 2024 Zurich Art Prize goes to Olaf Holzapfel

Thursday, July 13, 2023
The 2024 Zurich Art Prize goes to Olaf Holzapfel

In 2024, the Zurich Art Prize, awarded annually by Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Company Ltd, goes to Olaf Holzapfel (b. 1967 in Dresden, lives and works in Berlin and Brandenburg). He is the 17th winner of the renowned award. Endowed with CHF 100,000, the prize consists of an CHF 80,000 budget for the production of a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv and CHF 20,000 in prize money.

In his multi-layered oeuvre, Olaf Holzapfel deals with the conception and materiality of spaces. After the 2000s, during which he particularly focused on megalopolises and their relationship with virtual space, observing a kinship between urban structures’ grids and the internet’s digital grids, his interest increasingly shifted toward the physically material site. Since then, Holzapfel has been searching for ways to artistically dissolve dualities, such as those of city and landscape, interior and exterior, or virtual and real visual spaces, and to describe them as something fluid. The result is a constant exchange between these forces.

His work revolves around intercultural exchange with artists and artisans, as well as recourse to vernacular techniques. For example, Holzapfel has been working for more than ten years with weavers from the Wichí community in Argentina’s Gran Chaco and with carpenters from Lower Saxony, who implement his designs using natural and locally typical materials, such as wood, straw or natural fibers. The projects produced in this way are process-oriented and collectively developed during an ongoing exchange of knowledge between all participants.

The Zurich Art Prize jury was particularly enthusiastic about Olaf Holzapfel’s adept handling of a wide range of very different media and spaces. His works, realized in a multifaceted formal language, raise substantial questions, for instance about production mechanisms or the relationship between culture and nature, without losing any of their poetic lightness. His groups of works, developed over several years, captivate with a continuity that resists the fast pace of our times in an enchanting way.

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Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.

Anna Melnykova, "Palace of Labor (palats praci), architector I. Pretro, 1916", shot with analog Canon camera, 35 mm Fuji film in March 2022.


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