Lisson Gallery

Ai Weiwei and Giulio Paolini announced as 2022 Laureates of the Praemium Imperiale prize

13 September 2022

Lisson Gallery congratulates artists Ai Weiwei and Giulio Paolini who were announced as the 33rd Praemium Imperiale Laureates for Sculpture and Painting, respectively, in a ceremony today at Asia House in London.

The Praemium Imperiale Awards were established to mark the centenary of the Japan Art Association, Japan's oldest cultural foundation. Often considered as the 'Nobel Prize for the arts', the Awards today remain unique, celebrating greatness in five of the major arts – Painting, Sculpture, Architecture, Music and Theatre/Film.

Ai Weiwei receives this year's award in the Sculpture category in recognition of his wide-ranging practice encompassing everything from global refugee crises to the destruction of the Brazilian rainforest. From early iconoclastic positions in regards to authority and history, which included Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn and a series of middle-finger salutes to sites of power, Study of Perspective (both 1995), Ai’s production expanded to encompass architecture, public art and performance. Beyond concerns of form or protest, Ai now measures our existence in relation to economic, political, natural and social forces, uniting craftsmanship with conceptual creativity.

Giulio Paolini is awarded the 2022 Praemium Imperiale in the category of Painting, honouring his unique artistic orientation that is not easily categorised or contained in any movement. Many of Paolini’s works are inspired by masterpieces of Art history and are created to make the viewer question what they are seeing; interrogating the very nature of art and the role of the artist through a practice encompassing painting, sculpture and photography. Paolini's incessant investigation of the definition and purpose of the work has been insistently concerned with the act of exhibiting, which he sees as the fundamental moment of encountering the work.

Ai Weiwei and Giulio Paolini announced as 2022 Laureates of the Praemium Imperiale prize
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