ABN AMRO Art Award 2017

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Saskia Noor van Imhoff

Today Saskia Noor Imhoff (born in Mission, Canada in 1982) was announced as the winner of the seventh annual ABN AMRO Art Award. As such, she will be putting on a solo exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam later this year.

With Saskia Noor van Imhoff, the jury of the ABN AMRO Art Award has chosen an artist who explores the world around her in an unconventional way, making exciting, unexpected connections. The process of classifying, displaying and archiving art plays a central role in her spatial installations. Her strong sense of material and composition allows her to capture ideas in a fascinating, compelling way. Van Imhoff once said, “I’m an archaeologist of my own work,” referring to the fact that she is constantly examining it, and the work of others which sometimes finds its way into her own installations, from a critical perspective, as well as the context in which she presents it. As a result, her work is constantly evolving.

The jury particularly admired her output for its layered, original and playful character. Van Imhoff effectively leads the viewer’s eye by reproducing and manipulating images, reclassifying existing situations and using architecture intelligently. In addition, her location-specific installations incorporating humidifiers and climate systems, for instance, are an implicit commentary on human behaviour and our impulse to catalogue and save.

The jury were looking for exceptional talent in the Netherlands – for an artist whose evolution holds promise and for whom the prize would be significant in terms of the next steps in his or her career. The quality and uniqueness of the work were guiding principles in the selection process. Saskia Noor van Imhoff is an artist who asks questions about our culture of preservation and conservation, examining these themes in a very distinctive, contemporary way. Her work has featured in major exhibitions in and outside the Netherlands, but is still relatively unknown to a wider Dutch audience.

The first four artists to win the ABN AMRO Art Award were Fahrettin Ă–renli (in 2004), Eylem Aladogan (2005), Ryan Gander (2006) and Melissa Gordon (2007). In 2015, the ABN AMRO Art Award resumed as a prize to help support talented artists in the Netherlands. The fifth prizewinner, in 2015, was Melvin Moti (born in Rotterdam in 1977), followed by Marijn van Kreij (Middelrode, 1978) in 2016. The winner of the ABN AMRO Art Award is given an exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam and a presentation at ABN AMRO’s head office, including a special publication, as well as a cash prize of €10,000. Work by the winner is also acquired for the ABN AMRO art collection.

The jury of the ABN AMRO Art Award 2017 was made up of Lex ter Braak (director of the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht), Danila Cahen (curator of ABN AMRO’s art collection), Bart Rutten (Head of Collections, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam), Berend Strik (visual artist) and Silvia Zonneveld (Managing Director of ABN AMRO MeesPierson/Private Wealth Management).

Saskia Noor van Imhoff

Saskia Noor van Imhoff studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam from 2004 to 2008, where she also participated in specialist workshops from 2010 to 2012. Her work has since featured in a number of solo and group exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum and the contemporary arts centre De Appel (in 2016), the Gwangju Biennale in Gwangju, South Korea (2015) and the Galerie Fons Welters in Amsterdam (2013). Van Imhoff’s work is found in major collections, such as that of the Stedelijk Museum, the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar and the Verbeke Foundation in Kemzeke, Belgium.

ABN AMRO as “Partner of the Future”

Since 2004, ABN AMRO has been the main sponsor of the Hermitage Amsterdam. The bank is proud of this long-term partnership, which is aimed at making art and culture more accessible to the general public. The ABN AMRO Art Prize is part of the “Partner of the Future” sponsorship programme, in which the bank invests in talented individuals who are working towards new achievements in sports, arts and culture, and enterprise. The bank hopes that the Art Prize will give talented visual artists the opportunity to move forward with their work and reach a wider audience.

Hermitage Amsterdam

Twice a year, the Hermitage Amsterdam organises an exhibition made up of works from the collection of the State Hermitage Museum in St Petersburg, as well as other temporary exhibitions such as the Portrait Gallery of the Golden Age (from the collections of the Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum) since 2014. It has organised an exhibition for the annual winner of the ABN AMRO Art Award since 2015. Last year, the Outsider Art Museum opened with works from the collection of Museum het Dolhuys in Haarlem.

Cathelijne Broers, Director of the Hermitage Amsterdam, says, “Once again, we are very pleased to facilitate the exhibition of this year’s winner of the ABN AMRO Art Award. The development of talent is one of our mainstays, and since 2009 we have been offering a free, continuous art education programme called the Hermitage for Children. Saskia Noor van Imhoff is an artist with a special, unconventional talent. We are looking forward to seeing how this new context will influence her work.”

The exhibition Reclining Nude with a Man Playing the Guitar featuring work by Marijn van Kreij, winner of the ABN AMRO Art Award 2016, is on show at the Hermitage Amsterdam until 28 May 2017. The accompanying publication has been selected for the Best Dutch Book Designs 2016 and will be included in an exhibition of the same name at Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum in September.

ABN AMRO Art Award 2017: the full jury report

With Saskia Noor van Imhoff (born in Mission, Canada in 1982), the jury of the ABN AMRO Art Award has chosen an artist who explores the world around her in an unconventional way, making exciting, unexpected connections. The process of classifying, displaying and archiving art plays a central role in her spatial installations. Van Imhoff seamlessly blends such contrasting media as painting, sculpture, design, poetry and architecture. She approaches objects as an archaeologist would, ordering them with an archivist’s attention to detail, and combines them with an open, almost philosophical outlook, one separate from any existing hierarchy. Her art reflects our age, in which everything is connected to, and coexists with, everything else, thanks in large part to the Internet.

By incorporating and modifying her surroundings in her work, she tells stories which are always new, inviting the viewer to look at, and think about, the world in an unconventional way. She recently brought the history of the arts centre De Appel to life by using architectural changes to display relics from the centre’s past in a kind of magical, archaeological setting. She had her work stored in the warehouse of the Stedelijk Museum in order to apply the classification system in use there to another, new work. Finally, she has addressed the question of authorship by incorporating works by well-known artists in her own installations. Van Imhoff makes the invisible visible, taking total control of the space and context in which she exhibits her work. One might even go so far as to say that it is that context which serves as her actual material.

The jury particularly admired her output for its layered, original and playful character. Van Imhoff effectively leads the viewer’s eye by reproducing and manipulating images, reclassifying existing situations and using architecture intelligently. In addition, her location-specific installations incorporating humidifiers and climate systems, for instance, are an implicit commentary on human behaviour and our impulse to catalogue and save. Her work also reveals a subtle sense of material and composition, which she reinforces in each new work. Van Imhoff’s work draws on a classical formal language, and makes reference to the context of art history and to the world around us. Perhaps above all, though, it offers a glimpse into the artist’s mind as a small, formalised cabinet of curiosities.

The ABN AMRO Art Award aims to support talent in the Netherlands. The quality and uniqueness of the work are its guiding principles. Saskia Noor van Imhoff was chosen for her young, yet totally individual and intuitive, visual language. Her meticulous research results in poetic and visually appealing installations whose logic the viewer can dissect, but which remains inimitable. It is precisely at the interface between logic and enigma that her works are at their most intense. Van Imhoff has garnered acclaim with major exhibitions in and outside the Netherlands, but is still relatively unknown to a wider Dutch audience. The jury looks forward to conferring the ABN AMRO Art Award 2017 on Saskia Noor van Imhoff.

Photo caption: Saskia Noor van Imhoff, installation photo #+23.00, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, 2016. Photo: G.J. van Rooij.

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