Pierre Huyghe Wins the 2017 Nasher Prize

Words by Carla Ingrasciotta
September 28, 2016

The Nasher Sculpture Center announces French artist Pierre Huyghe as the recipient of the 2017 Nasher Prize. In its second year, the Nasher Prize is the most ambitious international award in sculpture, established to honor a living artist who elevates the understanding of sculpture and its possibilities. Pierre Huyghe has profoundly expanded the parameters of sculpture through artworks encompassing a variety of materials and disciplines, bringing music, cinema, dance, and theater into contact with biology and philosophy, incorporating time based elements that vary in intensity, as diverse as fog, ice, parades, rituals, automata, computer programs, video games, dogs, bees, and microorganisms. Huyghe has consistently sought new ways to bring together unconventional and heterogeneous materials into a practice exceeding the sum of its multifarious parts. Says Huyghe, “To start [a work], I always need to create a world. Then [I] enter this world, and that walk through this world is the work.” The works Huyghe creates become in turn evolving worlds that others can walk through, encountering living entities and environments that can range from intellectually provocative to hauntingly beautiful.

If a traditional definition of sculpture is an object experienced in space over time, Huyghe’s practice expands the possibility of the three central precepts of this definition—object, space, and time.  Huyghe’s achievements have deeply affected our understanding of sculpture’s possibilities even as he explores new avenues for his own work, delving into urgent issues raised by technology and media—identity, representation, community, knowledge—as well as enduring questions regarding time, exhibition ritual, and the role of the artist and our shared connections to each other.

“We are so delighted by the choice of Pierre Huyghe as our 2017 Nasher Prize laureate,” says Director Jeremy Strick. “His expansive view of sculpture so wonderfully embodies the goal of the Nasher Prize, which is to champion the greatest artistic minds of our time. His incorporation of living systems, situations, films and objects into his sculpture highlight the complexities between art and life and challenge the very limits of art-making. And at this moment, when the environment and culture are so under threat, Huyghe’s imaginative, uncanny approach to the serious ecological and social issues facing our planet tie his oeuvre to the ancient purposes of sculpture: they possess a shamanistic quality which tips the mimetic into life.”

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