Museum Haus Konstruktiv and Zurich Insurance Group Ltd are pleased to declare Marguerite Humeau the winner of this year’s Zurich Art Prize and to announce a change on the occasion of this internationally renowned award’s tenth edition: as of 2017, in addition to the previous sum of CHF 80’000, which is always used for a solo exhibition at Museum Haus Konstruktiv, the winner receives another CHF 20’000 in prize money.
Marguerite Humeau (b. 1986 in Cholet, France, lives in London) has become known in recent years for her large-format installations, seemingly organic and creatural sculptures. When conceptualizing her works, Humeau often takes prehistoric events, scientific theories and occult notions as a starting point.
The exhibition Riddles (Final Beats) at Museum Haus Konstruktiv belongs to a larger complex of works, also called Riddles, parts of which have already been exhibited in New York (C L E A R I N G New York/Brussels), Berlin (Schinkel Pavillon) and Versailles (Bosquet de l'Arc de Triomphe, Château de Versailles). The figure at the center of all Riddles exhibitions is that of the sphinx, a human-animal composite being, the beginnings of which date all the way back to the early history of humanity. In both Egyptian and Greek mythology, a protective function is attributed to the sphinx: the ability to guard humanity against potential enemies. In ancient Greece, it would also decide on life or death according to whether a riddle was answered correctly or incorrectly. Marguerite Humeau bridges the gap between past and present, hypothesizing that today’s surveillance systems, drones for instance, are directly descended from the ancient figure of the sphinx.
The jury chose Marguerite Humeau as the prize winner because her works formulate an independent position characterized by scientific curiosity and precision, while also sharing parallels with the scientific basis of constructivist-concrete art.