14th Robert Jacobsen Prize of the Würth Foundation awarded to the artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset

“High social relevance and extreme poignancy”


The Scandinavian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset living in Berlin will be awarded the 14th Robert Jacobsen Prize of the Würth Foundation. The jury’s reasoning for awarding the prize to Michael Elmgreen, born in Copenhagen in 1961, and Ingar Dragset, born in Trondheim in 1969, is “their works’ being characterized by high social relevance and extreme poignancy”. According to the jury, the duo’s oeuvre is “rather marked by human attitude than by marketable style.” The prize being awarded every other year since 1993 in memory of the Danish sculptor Robert Jacobsen, is worth EUR 50,000 for the first time this year.

The Danish-Norwegian artist duo Elmgreen & Dragset has been cooperating for more than 25 years, since 1997 in Berlin. Time and again, the two artists explore the possibilities of art in public and institutional space. One of Elmgreen & Dragsets’ internationally most well-known works of art is the installation “Prada Marfa“ (2005), a specifically built, yet always closed Prada boutique in the middle of the Texan desert. In 2008, the duo created the monument for homosexuals persecuted during the Nazi regime located in Berlin’s Tiergarten. In 2009, they curated the Nordic Pavilion at the Venice Biennale with “The Collectors“. In 2017, Elmgreen & Dragset curated the 15th Istanbul Biennale.

The explanatory statement by the jury of the 14th Robert Jacobsen Prize of the Würth Foundation reads: “The artists discuss fundamental social and sociological questions such as the relationship between the individual and society, overall concepts and models of irritation and controversy. They call the exhibition-related and cultural activities into question that they themselves participate in, yet do so using sensitive irony and subtle doubts. The peremptory nature of the artists’ positions goes hand in hand with their distinct alertness to thoughts and emotions as well as to the possible, sometimes perhaps intentional violation of feelings. This concept of the impact of art is remarkable in that it is concomitant with the questions about human values and human dignity.”

The jury of the 14th Robert Jacobsen Prize of the Würth Foundation

  • Dr. Christoph Becker, Director of Kunsthaus Zurich
  • Dr. Philipp Demandt, Director of Städel Museum, Liebieghaus and Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt
  • Prof. Dr. Michael Eissenhauer, Director General of Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
  • Fabrice Hergott, Director of Musée d’Art moderne de Paris
  • Prof. Dr. Bernhard Maaz, Director General of Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, Munich
  • Eva Rothschild, sculptor, London, and awardee of the 13th Robert Jacobsen Prize
  • Maria Würth, Member of the Board of the Würth Foundation
  • C. Sylvia Weber, Director of Würth Collection (chair)

About the Robert Jacobsen Prize

After the death of sculptor Robert Jacobsen in 1993, the Würth Foundation endowed the Robert Jacobsen Prize in cooperation with Museum Würth. Every other year, it is awarded to contemporary visual artists to commemorate Robert Jacobsen’s oeuvre and influence.

After their first accidental encounter in the 1970s, the Danish sculptor and Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold Würth, entrepreneur and art collector, became long-standing friends. In 1991, Jacobsen completed his biggest sculptural installation on the forecourt of the new administration building of the Würth Group that has since been characterizing the corporate headquarters’ appearance. The Robert Jacobsen Prize is now worth EUR 50,000. In the following the former awardees:

  • 1993 Lun Tuchnowski
  • 1995 Richard Deacon
  • 1997 Magdalena Jetelovà
  • 1999 Gereon Lepper
  • 2001 Stephan Kern
  • 2003 Rui Chafes
  • 2005/2006 Bernar Venet
  • 2008 Monika Sosnowska
  • 2010 Alicja Kwade
  • 2012 Jeppe Hein
  • 2014/2015 Michael Sailstorfer
  • 2016/2017 Yngve Holen
  • 2018/2019 Eva Rothschild

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About the Würth Foundation

Prof. Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold and Carmen Würth founded the Würth Foundation in 1987. It is a civil law foundation based in Künzelsau, Germany, and promotes charitable and benevolent purposes.

The Würth Foundation promotes projects in the fields of art and culture, research and science as well as education and training—mainly in the Hohenlohe region, where the Würth Group’s headquarters are located. The Würth Foundation also supports projects aimed at social integration. The projects of the Würth Foundation are supported by the German Würth Group companies, in particular Adolf Würth GmbH & Co. KG.

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