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Lithium mining and a Donald Judd horror film: nominees for Prix Marcel Duchamp—France's most prestigious contemporary art award—announced

The four artists will have their work exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in Paris for the prize, worth €35,000

(Left to right, top to bottom) Julien Creuzet, Isabelle Cornaro Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Julian Charrière © ADIAF

The four artists nominated for the Prix Marcel Duchamp 2021 are Julian Charrière, Isabelle Cornaro, Julien Creuzet and Lili Reynaud-Dewar, the Association for the International Diffusion of French Art (ADIAF) announced today. Gilles Fuchs, the president of the ADIAF, made the announcement on Instagram.

Works by the four artists will be exhibited at the Centre Pompidou in October and the winner of the 21st edition of the prestigious prize, worth €35,000, will be announced on 18 October. To be eligible, an artist must either be French or living in France.

Berlin-based Charrière, 33, who holds joint French/Swiss nationality, is known for his sculptures, photographs and videos exploring humanity's impact on nature. His piece Future Fossil Spaces (2014) featuring geological sculptures relating to lithium mining in Bolivia was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2017. Other projects have taken him to Cold War sites of American and Soviet nuclear testing, an oil palm plantation in Indonesia, as well as the Antarctic, Greenland and Iceland. Whilst at the Berlin University of the Arts, he completed his studies at Olafur Eliasson's research institute.

“I can't start to talk about a subject without experiencing it,” Charrière tells The Art Newspaper. “So if I want to engage with an atomic test site or a place of radioactivity, I need to go there and expose myself to understand what it means. I think it's crucial for an artist to be exposed. It's not about wanting to be an epic adventurer-artist; it's much more about the aim for an encounter which leads to a deep understanding of a place or a particular situation.”

Meanwhile, Cornaro, 46, who is based between Paris and Geneva, interrogates aspects of art history in sculptural installations. She studied at the École du Louvre, the Royal College of Art and the Fine Arts Academy in Paris. “Isabelle makes installations with sculptures but through the point of view of Nicolas Poussin's painting, which she deconstructs and translates into the idea of a landscape,” says Alexander Hertling, whose gallery Balice Hertling represents the artist. Cornaro will have an exhibition of new works that are inspired by Monet at the Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris, this spring.

Creuzet, 34, who lives near Paris, explores cultural histories relating to geography, colonialism, myths and memory in dreamlike installations that combine sculpture and painting with sound and poetry. His moving work has been exhibited at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, the Biennale de Lyon and the Rencontres de Bamako in Mali.

Reynaud-Dewar, 45, also based between Paris and Geneva, is known for her performances, sculptures, films and installations drawing on feminist and social ideas while referencing cultural figures. Her film, Beyond the Land of Minimal Possessions (2018), follows a group of European art students travelling to Marfa, Texas, to see Donald Judd’s work that develops into horror scenes. She has exhibited at the New Museum in New York, the Kunsthalle in Basel and the Magasin in Grenoble.