Prix Marcel Duchamp, France's leading contemporary art prize, goes abroad

Shows at London's Whitechapel Gallery and in China aim to raise prize's international profile


Keen to make the Prix Marcel Duchamp, France's contemporary art prize, better known abroad, the ADIAF (Association for the International Diffusion of French Art), is organising two exhibitions in China and one at the Whitechapel Gallery in London.

The China shows, organised by Alfred Pacquement, the former director of the Centre Pompidou, are at the Red Brick Art Museum in Beijing (27 May-27 August) and Times Museum in Guangzhou (3 June-27 July). Both titled High—Tension, they spotlight eight of the 16 winners of the prize and have been realised with support from the French Embassy in Beijing and the Institut Français.

“Given the increasing interest that the Chinese have for contemporary art, we have long sought to make the Prix Marcel Duchamp artists known in China,” says Gilles Fuchs, ADIAF's president, adding that the prize was included in the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

While the Beijing exhibition focuses on large-scale installations by Cyprien Gaillard, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster and Laurent Grasso, the Guangzhou show features moving images and 3D objects. Both are themed around “multiple meanings about the transmission of energy, ruptures and conflicts, memory shocks”, Pacquement says.

The Whitechapel Gallery has offered a solo show to Ulla von Brandenburg, the German-born, Paris-based artist nominated for the 2016 Prix Marcel Duchamp, although the dates are to be confirmed. “Ulla von Brandenburg brings together dance, sculpture, installation and drawing to create richly complex and poetic works of art,” says Iwona Blazwick, the director of the Whitechapel Gallery, who sat on the 2016 jury of the prize, which was awarded to Kader Attia. Attia had an exhibition at the Whitechapel in 2013-14.

The ADIAF's quest to exhibit the Prix Marcel Duchamp's artists internationally extends to a show about the 12 women nominated for the prize at Fondation Fernet-Branca in Saint Louis, France, during Art Basel (10 June-8 October) and another on this year's finalists at Hangar H18 in Brussels (until 8 July).