Earlier today Marijn van Kreij (Middelrode, 1978) was announced as the winner of the sixth ABN AMRO Art Award. The prize includes an exhibition of his work at the Hermitage in Amsterdam, scheduled to open on 27 November 2016.
On each of the four previous occasions that the ABN AMRO Art Award was awarded, it was to international talent in the Netherlands: Fahrettin Örenli (2004), Eylem Aladogan (2005), Ryan Gander (2006) and Melissa Gordon (2007). In 2015, in its renewed form, the ABN AMRO Art Award was awarded as an incentive for talent in the Netherlands (whether Dutch or international). The fifth edition was won by Melvin Moti (Rotterdam, 1977) in January 2015. The ABN AMRO Art Award includes an exhibition in the Hermitage in Amsterdam and a presentation at ABN AMRO’s head office, with an accompanying publication and a sum of €10,000. In addition, ABN AMRO purchases some of the artist’s work for its own art collection.
The panel judging the ABN AMRO Art Award 2016 chose Marijn van Kreij as a researching artist who investigates and queries themes such as authenticity, originality and artistic appropriation. The replication process features prominently in Van Kreij’s work, through a variety of reproduction methods and means including scanners, photography, photocopiers, ready-mades and quotes.
‘Ultimately, I hope, questions about ownership will become unimportant: everything originates in the world in which we live, either as an existing image or as an image in my head.’ This quote is typical of artist Marijn van Kreij. His work links back to the works of artists from the past and particularly to the legacy of modernism. Playful references to popular visual and pop culture also feature strongly in Van Kreij’s oeuvre, which includes drawings, paintings, video, objects and installations.
The judges view Van Kreij as an important representative of his generation. They praise the artist’s contemporary outlook, Van Kreij’s way of elevating ‘non-subjects’ and everyday details to art and his process of manually appropriating images in this present age of digital (and online) visual culture. In the judges’ words, this makes Van Kreij one of the most interesting and promising artists of his generation.
The judges looked for an outspoken and talented artist in the Netherlands who is developing in an interesting direction and to whom the prize offers an important boost toward the next stages of his or her career. The leading criteria were the quality and uniqueness of the artist’s work. By awarding the prize to Marijn van Kreij, the judges have chosen an artist with a strong and unconventional oeuvre that is continually evolving. His extensive research into the meaning and functioning of reused images results in subtle and powerful works. Although the artist has exhibited his work in leading galleries in the Netherlands, at present his work is relatively unknown to the general Dutch public.
The panel of judges for the ABN AMRO Art Award 2016 was made up of Lex ter Braak (director of the Jan van Eyck Academy 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).